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Earth Science

X-ray Facility To Simulate Conditions At Earth's Core 37

Diggester sends this quote from an article at the BBC: "The ID24 beam line at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility will use X-ray beams to subject iron and other materials to extraordinary temperatures and pressures. How the X-rays are absorbed should give insight into the mysterious processes going on at and near the Earth's core. For example, the work could unravel why the Earth's magnetic field can 'flip.' ... The samples are compressed at a pressure millions of times higher than that on the Earth's surface. High-power lasers are then fired through the diamonds at the samples, heating them to higher than 10,000C. Then X-rays are used as a probe to determine the precise composition and chemistry of samples."
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X-ray Facility To Simulate Conditions At Earth's Core

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  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @11:45AM (#38035226)

    have lot's of Crowbars on site

  • Memo (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ae1294 (1547521)

    We're doing science and we're still alive...

  • a better link (Score:5, Informative)

    by arielCo (995647) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @12:11PM (#38035374)
  • by HiggsBison (678319) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @01:26PM (#38035832)
    Let's see... X-rays, check... diamonds, check... high-powered lasers, check...
  • Bad summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doctor Morbius (1183601) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:32PM (#38036252)
    The summary makes its seem like they're using the X-rays to do the heating and compressing when in reality the material is compressed in a diamond anvil cell. The X-rays are used to study how the material changes under heat and pressure. The original article makes the same mistake.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by stevelinton (4044)

      The X-rays will certainly heat the sample very rapidly indeed, and thereby probably increase the pressure in the cell, at least briefly, so I don't think the article is all wrong. Probably better to think of the diamond anvil cell as a pre-pressurizing step.

      • by BarryPye (2506922)
        Only in science fiction, stevelinton. Doctor Morbius is correct. The power in the monochromatic X-ray beam at ID24 is less than a Watt. Only powerful enough to heat your imagination. All the pressure is provided by the diamond anvil cell. The experimental technique, X-ray diffraction, is used to characterize the crystal structure of a sample under carefully controlled conditions. This same type of high-pressure environmental science experiment is done at the Advanced Photon Source (USA) at beam lines
    • Shouldn't they be using neutrinos for their experiments?
  • Any bets that a Time Cube forms and starts tearing up Bibles?

    Humans are wiser at birth than after fully educated – for they are taught negativistic anti-life ONEism that does not exist on opposite + & - pole Earth.

    Everyone knows the magnetic shift is caused by TIME CUBE!

    Seriously, we have no idea what's down there. Sounds like a fun experiment.

    • :D Horray for a time cube reference! Honestly, I am disappointed that you did not post every line in a different size/font/color.
  • ...by firing a really expensive X-ray laser at it.

    "OK, plasma spectrograph says it's iron. Fire up the Xaser." ...sometime later...

    "OK. Xaser spectrometry says it's iron."

    Nope. I really cannot see the point.

  • It's HOT!!! Very HOT!!!! Oh and lots of pressure..

"For the man who has everything... Penicillin." -- F. Borquin