Last Reviewed and Updated on August 2, 2022
The temperatures on the surface of our planet are, for the most part, enjoyable and perfect for life. But what is happening deep down under the surface? How hot is the center of the Earth?
Layers of the Earth
Earth has many layers, each layer unique in its composition and properties. There are five main layers, each of which can be further divided.
The five layers are the core, the upper mantle, the lower mantle, the outer core, and the inner core.
As a general rule, the deeper you go towards the center of the Earth, the higher the temperature, so the inner core is the hottest part of the Earth.
Want to learn more about our planet? Read these Earth facts.
How hot is the center of the Earth?
The Earth’s core is made out of two layers, the outer core and the inner core. What’s even more fascinating is the outer core is liquid, and the inner core is solid. The inner and outer core are believed to be composed of iron (mostly) and nickel.
The temperature at the inner core’s surface is estimated to be approximately 5,430 °C / 9,800 °F.
A study published in 2013 puts the center of the Earth’s core temperature up to around 6,000 °C / 10,830 °F.
Also read: is the core of the Earth hotter than the Sun
How was the temperature measured?
Since we can’t (yet) put a thermometer into Earth’s core, you may wonder how these temperatures are measured.
First, you need to figure out the compositions. Boundaries between layers and the density of layers can be determined with the help of seismic waves. Different materials bounce off seismic waves differently. Considering the Earth’s magnetic field, the element in the core has to be a magnetic one. This just confirms the iron is a likely suspect.
Now you’ve got the idea of the composition, and you have an idea of what other conditions at those depths are. To determine the temperature of the Earth’s inner core (or any other part), scientists conduct measurements of melting temperatures of iron under conditions similar to those at the center.
How do we know the center of the Earth is hot?
Aside from measurements and calculations, volcanic activity is a pretty good tell-tale sign.