For hundreds of years it was thought that the interior of our planet was perfectly known, but a group of scientists has revealed that one of those interior layers that were thought to be Hard rockIt’s actually not that much.
This is revealed by a new study published in Nature Geoscience where geologists from Cornell and the University of Texas have discovered a hidden layer of very hot molten rock, just below the earth’s crust.
The molten layer lies about 160 km from the surface and is part of the asthenosphere, which lies below Earth’s tectonic plates in the upper mantle.
“The asthenosphere is important to plate tectonics because it forms a relatively smooth boundary that allows tectonic plates to move through the mantle.”, the report can be read.
The asthenosphere was previously thought to be mostly solid with some liquid, but this new discovery suggests that its layer Upper is not hard rock but softer than expected.
Unusual signs of partially molten rock discovered beneath the crust
The idea to study the asthenosphere occurred to the researcher Junlin Hua while studying seismic images of the mantle beneath Turkey. Studying those images, he discovered signs of partially molten rock beneath the crust.
Later he was able to collect other seismic images from around the world to obtain a composite map of the asthenosphere where he found that the partially molten rock beneath the earth’s crust was not anomalous.
“We can’t go deep into the asthenosphere, but we can illuminate that part of the planet using seismic images and the chemical compositions of samples that come from deep within the Earth, just as a doctor would use ultrasound and blood chemistry to determine a patient’s condition“says the researcher Esteban Gazel.
And it is that the characteristics of the asthenosphere have puzzled geologists for a long time and despite this discovery of the hidden layer molten could make up half of Earth’s asthenosphere.