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The Earth’s core seems to be surrounded by an ancient and mysterious structure

The Earth’s core seems to be surrounded by an ancient and mysterious structure

This was revealed by a high-resolution map of our planet’s internal structure, which indicates the presence of an ancient ocean floor on the border between the core and the mantle.

Seismic waves generated by earthquakes in the Southern Hemisphere were used to sample ultra-low velocity structure (ULVZ) along the Earth’s core-mantle boundary / Credit: Edward Garnero and Mingming Li, Arizona State University

I understand exactly What is under our feet It can help us better understand our planet, from volcanic eruptions to changes in Earth’s magnetic field that protects us from solar radiation in space. However, knowing more is extremely difficult, due to the inaccessible temperatures and pressure conditions we encounter deep within the Earth that limit our direct knowledge. From its inner layers. In their study, the scientists use indirect methods, analyzing seismic waves generated by earthquakes and assessing how these waves propagate or bounce through the different layers of our planet. Through seismic imaging specifically, an international research team has achieved just this High resolution map of the interior of our planetrevealing the existence of an ancient and mysterious structure, which may well be the case Ancient ocean floor Which surrounds the Earth’s core.

The class in question, according to the analysis results published on Advancement of sciencelocated on the border Between the core and the mantle (il Basic mantle boundaries,CMB)It is a region within the Earth where the molten outer core meets the mantle of silicate rocks, at a depth of about 2,900 kilometers below the surface. Although it is a relatively thin layer, it contains some very dense areas, which are called Ultra Low Velocity Zones (ULVZ)Because seismic waves in these areas move slower.

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Analysis (thousands) of Seismic records from Antarcticaour high-definition imaging method has been discovered Thin anomalous zones of material in the core-mantle boundary regionEverywhere we looked – “We’re here to go,” explained geophysicist Edward Garnero of Arizona State University, co-author of the study with Samantha Hansen, lead author and professor of geological sciences at the University of Alabama. The thickness of the material ranges from a few kilometers to tens of kilometers. This indicates that we notice “mountains” in the heart, In some places, it is five times higher than Mount Everest“.

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The ancient ocean floor that envelops the Earth’s core

According to the researchers, these areas of extremely low velocity are the most likely The oceanic crust sank to the core-mantle boundary Over millions of years.

Oceanic material is transported into the planet’s interior where tectonic plates meet and sink under each other. Known as subduction zones – Scientists increased – . Accumulations of subducted oceanic material collect along the core-mantle boundary and are pushed up by rocks that slowly flow into the mantle over geological time“.

These underground “mountains” can play an important role In the way heat escapes from the core, the part of the planet that feeds the magnetic field. “Material from ancient ocean floors can also be drawn into mantle plumes, or hotspots, Which returns to the surface through volcanic eruptionsThey highlighted scientists whose future investigations may be able to add more elements to the overall picture.

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Our research – Dr. Hansen concluded – It provides important links between the surface and deep structure of the Earth and the comprehensive processes that drive our planet“.