The findings of the study could help to understand how the Earth was formed in about 10 billion years ago. They could also shed light on the fundamental nature of nitrogen, one of the most abundant elements of the atmosphere on the planet earth.
An international team of researchers has conducted sophisticated experiments to reproduce conditions in the Earth’s core. Using high-energy laser beams and optical sensors, they managed to observe how nitrogen samples behaved more than 1 million times at normal atmospheric pressure and temperatures above 3,000 degrees Celsius.
Their observations have confirmed that under such conditions, nitrogen is present as a liquid metal. The findings give scientists valuable information on how nitrogen behaves in extreme conditions, which could help to understand how the planets formed.
It can help explain why Earth is the only planet known to have ample nitrogen in its atmosphere – where it exists as a gas. According to the researchers, the nitrogen in the air could come out of the depths of the earth and could be mixed with other liquid minerals.
Also, research findings shed light on how the planet’s atmosphere evolved and how it can develop in the future.
Their study, conducted by the University of Edinburgh with researchers from China and the US, was published in the journal Nature Communications. It was supported by the Research Council for Engineering and Natural Sciences and by the British Council.
Dr Stewart McWilliams of the University of Edinburgh’s Physics and Astronomy School said: “Earth’s atmosphere is the only planet in which nitrogen is the main component – in larger quantities than oxygen. In addition, we have come to the conclusion that this nitrogen could come deep within the planet earth. ”
It is worth noting that this methodology used in research is a pioneering tactic that opens up new horizons in discovering more data on this issue, and will undoubtedly become a landmark for future scientists, giving them more resources to carry out more in-depth studies.