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Question:
How much pressure exists at the Earth's inner most core? Does this have an effect on the intensity of earthquakes? What purpose does the magma serve to the earth?



Replies:
If I recall correctly the pressure at the center of the earth is around 5 million times atmospheric pressure (the 15 pounds/square inch that we breathe and live in). However that really does not have much effect on what happens up here near the surface. You may have heard about earthquakes having an epicenter - this is where the earthquake really happened and is usually between 0 and 50 miles below the surface of the earth. Even 50 miles is pretty small compared to the radius of the earth (4000 miles), so the pressure in the earth at even the deepest earthquakes is much less than it is at the center of the earth - the earthquakes are much closer to us up on top than to the core way down below. The other thing that happens as you go down deep is that it gets pretty hot - thousands of degrees. The magma you mentioned is usually the name for the first layer of the earth below us, containing hot and molten rock that sometimes comes up to the top through volcanoes and similar events. This is actually an "earth science" question so you might get a better answer by asking over there.

Arthur Smith



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