Round dumpling on a plate

A while back Mike set me a challenge: explain science using dumplings. There have been many elaborate suggestions put forward on Facebook and Twitter – from string theory, to osmosis, to plate tectonics. I thought I might start simple, with an explanation of the structure of Earth*. Earth has several distinct layers, that I have modelled using a baked dumpling.

Labelled dumpling according to Earth's layersPork and veal inner core

The pork and veal represent the iron and nickel of Earth’s inner core. The inner core is thought to be solid metal with a radius of more than 1000 kilometres.

Carrot and ginger outer core

This layer of Earth is thought to be liquid, but I couldn’t quite manage it with a dumpling! It’s the movement of this liquid layer of iron and nickel, about 2000 kilometres thick, that creates Earth’s magnetic field.

Plain mantle

Earth’s mantle is its thickest layer, here represented by a plain dough. In reality, the mantle is a slow moving semi-solid a bit less than 3000 kilometres thick.

Dukkah crust

Earth’s crust is a lot thinner than its other layers – typically up to about 80 kilometres thick. It is here symbolised by a crusty layer with dukkah surrounding the dumpling. Like dukkah, Earth’s crust is composed of many elements.

Atmosphere of plate

Earth’s atmosphere is also made of many layers, but here it’s represented uniformly with a plate. It’s a layer of gases – mostly nitrogen and oxygen – that are held by Earth’s gravity.

Although I think the dumpling representation of Earth looks pretty good, it didn’t taste great. It was all a bit too doughy. Perhaps it could have been left longer in the oven, or the pork filling was too moist for the dough. Next time I hope the dumpling tastes as good in practice as the science sounds in theory.

* Not to scale


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