How Hot Is the Center of the Earth?

Exactly how hot is the center of the Earth? Although it's hard to imagine, the Earth's core has a similar temperature to the surface of the Sun. It is estimated to be 6,000 degrees Kelvin. Although the Earth's core is much hotter than experts had previously thought, it is still not comparable to the Sun's atmosphere, where temperatures often reach between 1 million and 2 million degrees Kelvin.

The Earth's core consists of solid iron crystals (inner core) and liquid iron (outer core). The temperature of the Earth's core is calculated by taking measurements of iron's melting curves. In 2013, French scientists conducted an experiment in which they took measurements in a controlled environment that replicated the pressure at the Earth's core. X-ray beams were bounced off of iron atoms and observed as they changed into liquid form, presenting the most accurate estimate obtained so far-- 6,000 degrees Kelvin.

More about the Earth and the Sun:

  • The liquid outer core is responsible for the Earth's magnetic field.
  • Heat generated at time of Earth's formation continues to be a source of heat at the Earth's core.
  • It is still unclear to scientists why the Sun's outermost atmosphere, or corona, is 300 times hotter than the surface of the Sun.
More Info: The Atlantic

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?