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Researchers Compute Their Way to the Center of the Earth

By Gauss Center for Supercomputing

December 20, 2017

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Researchers at the University of Cologne in Germany are using computing resources at Germany's Julich Supercomputing Center (JSC) to better understand how materials behave in the extreme conditions below the Earth's surface.

The team has been using JSC's JUQUEEN supercomputer to simulate the structure of melts by studying silicate glasses as a model system for melts under ultra-high pressures.

"Understanding properties of silicate melts and glasses at ultra-high pressure is crucial to understanding how the Earth has formed in its infancy, where impacts of large asteroids led to a completely molten Earth," says University of Cologne professor Clemens Prescher.

The team utilized ab initio calculations of atoms' electronic structures and put those calculations in motion using molecular dynamics simulations.

The researchers focused on silicon dioxide, a common, well-known material because it made it easier to expand the range of pressure they could simulate and attempt to validate the model with experimental data.

From Gauss Center for Supercomputing
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