back to article Scientists probe Earth's core, make mystifying discovery

Scientists carrying out extreme boffinry into the makeup of the Earth's liquid core have announced that they are very puzzled to find it is not made of what they had thought it was. The great bulk of the liquid outer core of the planet, of course, is made of molten iron. That's just as well for us and all life on Earth, as the …


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  1. M Gale

    Silicon core?

    Maybe Douglas Adams was right!

    1. LaeMing

      I always thought

      that if Marvin's brain /was/ the Earth-computer it would explain a lot about his moods.

    2. Francis Boyle

      Douglas Adams was always right

      even when he was wrong!

  2. DJ 2

    Well Duh.

    Most important computer in the world, running a multi-billion year calculation, of course it's going to be silicon!

  3. Bodestone

    @M Gale

    You beat me to it.

    What do you get if you multiply 6 by 6?

    1. deadlockvictim

      7 x 6

      Nah. That'd be too obvious.

      Where's Frankie Mouse when you need him?

      1. Ian Stephenson


        In base13.


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Racnoss spaceship. Or blessing + cpt jack harkness blood.


  5. relpy

    Now there's a surprise...

    Gaia's had an enhancement.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silicon core. Theory, theory, and more theories. Could of, should of, would of. Now we have particles that travel faster than locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and now faster than the speed of light. Albert Einstein just turned over in his grave. When will they ever learn. It's only God playing with us.

    1. KirstarK

      I hope you are being sarcastic.....

      I really really do

    2. Matthew 3


      You might have been more persuasive if you'd spent a little time editing and checking. I think you meant:

      "Could have"

      "Should have"

      "Would have"

      1. cordwainer 1
        Thumb Up


        though personally I would have been able to live with even the slang variant, "coulda, shoulda, woulda" (more commonly, "coulda, woulda, shoulda").

        But substituting "of" for "have" oughta be a hangin' offense.

    3. Stoneshop

      A very logical and coherent statement

      And grammatically perfect too.

      No wonder you understand so little about science that you think there's a sentient entity directing it all.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But also

    From examining the composition of iron meteorites, where most contain inclusions of pyrrhotite (usually in the form of troilite) and graphite, we should also expect considerable amounts of sulfur and silicon down there.

    (Of course the density of the Core would be massively reduced if Doug McClure was right all those years ago.)

    Why yes that is a geological hammer in my pocket...

  8. heyrick Silver badge

    Silicon core

    Okay then, the race is on. First one to root Earth pwns humanity.

  9. Fibbles

    Silicon? Pah!

    My money is on carbon nano tubes. They seem to be popping up everywhere these days.

  10. DAN*tastik

    @ Moderators

    I understand that it is not easy to implement a filter that spots the wrong version of *your* *there* *wear* and the likes, but here's a quick fix ( pseudo code ) for posts like this

    String post = request.getAttribute ( "post" );

    if ( post.contains ( "should of" ) || post. contains ( "could of" ) || post.contains ( "would of" ) )


    post = "";

    deleteUser ( userId );


    You're welcome. Or is it yuor welcome? I don't know...

    1. Natalie Gritpants

      That could offend

      Maybe you should offer a version that corrects the post.

      1. Stoneshop


        Only if it simultaneously made the originator's keyboard explode, otherwise people will never learn.

        I consider this a shortcoming in all spelling and grammar checkers.

  11. Stratman

    At least we know the Earth isn't rusty....

    1. zenp

      ...just crusty...

  12. James O'Brien

    does this mean

    That Bulgarian airbags play a more important role in life than we realized?

  13. Mikel
    Thumb Up

    Silicon is essential to star development too

    Well, starlet development anyway.

  14. Andus McCoatover


    Erm, wondered where the sandy beaches came from. Seems they just popped up.

    1. LaeMing

      as the case may be.

  15. FredScummer
    Paris Hilton

    Where's Baldrick When You Need Him?

    The question I always ask myself when presented with evidence which has been derived by brainpower alone is - what planet are they from to figure this stuff out?

    Us mere mortals aren't able to fathom out these arguments, so it can only be down to some higher level of intelligence which we know nothing about.

    Or, perhaps Baldrick was the star player and it isn't the overwhelming intelligence angle which solves the problem - but the lack of intelligence which allows them to see the bleeding obvious that escapes the gaze of the rest of us.

    Paris and lack of intelligence go together.

    1. Stoneshop

      Brainpower alone?

      Boffin: we think the earth's core is molten iron with something else, because measurements indicate it's lighter than pure molten iron would be. Could this be oxygen?

      Lab experiments ensue.

      Measurements indicate that oxygen is not the other ingredient.

      Boffin: well, what's ligher than iron, and abundant enough that it could account for the weight difference? Hydrogen? Nah. Carbon? Errm. Silicon? Could be, let's test.

      More lab experiments ensue.

      Measurements indicate that silicon might well be the other ingredient.

      So, in what way exactly was this the result of brainpower alone?

    2. Francis Boyle

      The trick

      is to learn something about the subject before you start.

      It works in other areas too.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hot news

    "...deadly space radiation.."

    Whats this? A kind of radiation Lewis isn't suggesting is as harmless and fluffy as a kitten.

  17. mikesmullin

    hollow earth

    aw for a sec i thought they had moled through and found a cavern infested with greys :p

  18. Anonymous Coward

    It has to do with the way uranium breaks down.

    Whatever the stuff diluting the planetary core is, it is almost certainly going to be a breakdown by product of uranium. If the core is liquid, and all the evidence we have says that it is, then we should expect to see several things. If a given substance is not soluble in liquid iron but denser than iron, it should be at the very centre of the core. If a substance is not soluble in liquid iron and is less dense than iron, it should be on the outer fringe of the core. If on the other hand it IS soluble in liquid iron it will be found somewhere between the very centre and the edge of the core. Add this together with the fact than nearly all of the heat experienced underground is generated form the decay of radioactive elements, you have a means of getting a grip on the problem.

    1. Thorsten

      They are looking for something that is even *lighter* than iron. The decay chain of uranium-238 ends with lead-206, which is much *heavier* than iron.

  19. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Am I the first to say

    That is not a core!

    I've got a bad feeling about this!

  20. sayhi2yourmom4me

    The importance of silicon

    "Silicon is even more important than we at the Reg even thought" no, you gotta be kidding me. Even more important? Impossible!

  21. Stuart Halliday

    We need to be careful. Didn't anyone watch Inferno episode on Doctor who?

  22. some vaguely opinionated bloke

    "Extreme boffinry"?

    "(comparatively) humdrum lab work". Whilst jumping out of a plane. Blindfolded. On a surf board. Now *that* would be Extreme Boffinry.

    Wait til Red Bull get to hear of this, there'll be lab coats aplenty fluttering down all over the place. The bigger problem of course will be the length of rubber tube needed for Bunsen burners.

    (Goggles, yes please, number 5 shade minimum, ta)

  23. atomic jam
    Paris Hilton


    See above

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spelling mistakes make us into inhabitants of an inflated big tit?

    Given the spelling/grammar mistakes mentioned above, one wonder what might have been: that the Earth's core could be pumped full of silicone, with an iron retainer, just like a metal bra cup? if this could run, one would wonder where the other one of the pair was languishing.

  25. Glenn Charles

    and lab work is...

    of course a proof.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "New Research: The word 'boffin' and variants thereof... UK generated internet posts approach a frequency of appearance similar to that of 'the', 'a', 'it' and 'brilly', much to the chagrin of non-British English speakers that like to read about science..."

    Please, please stop...we're connected by the internet now and you can't contain it to your own island...

    1. M Gale

      When I feel like being really annoying...

      ...and someone asks me what type of English I speak, I tend to respond with "English English".

      You know, just in case I'm not hated enough.

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