U researchers unlock mystery of layer encircling Earth's core

Renata Wentzcovitch PhotoAssociate Professor Renata Wentzcovitch (chemical engineering and materials science) and her research team have confirmed the properties of post-perovskite, a mineral that may form near Earth's core in a layer called the "D" region. The findings offer new data for interpreting properties of this region, which lies at the interface between Earth's rocky mantle and the metallic core.

The research "tells us how to better model Earth's internal processes," said Wentzcovitch, adding that "proper geodynamical modeling of Earth is necessary to get a better grasp of the dynamics of the surface."

In the current work, Wentzcovitch and colleagues offer convincing evidence that post-perovskite is in the "D" layer and produces its strange seismic properties. The study was published Jan. 17 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.