The Pluto-size ball of solid iron that makes up Earth's inner core formed between 1 billion and 1.5 billion years ago.
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The Pluto-size ball of solid iron that makes up Earth's inner core formed between 1 billion and 1.5 billion years ago, according to new research.
What's more, the new findings suggest that Earth's magnetic field, which is powered by the swirling flow of liquid iron surrounding the inner core, could continue going strong for quite a while, said study co-author Andy Biggin, a paleomagnetism researcher at the University of Liverpool in England. (Paleomagnetism is the study of the record of the Earth's magnetic field in rocks, sediment or archaeological materials.)
"The theoretical model which best fits our data indicates that the core is losing heat more slowly than at any point in the last 4.5 billion years and that this flow of energy should keep the Earth's magnetic field going for another billion years or more," Biggin said in a statement. [Photo Timeline: How the Earth Formed]