Over four decades have passed since researchers discovered two continent-sized blobs wrapped around Earth’s core, and they’re still trying to figure out what they are. Here’s what they know so far.
The Unsolved Mystery of the Earth Blobs
“Part of the reason for this mystery is what Earth scientists have always struggled with: They will never be able to visit the inside of Earth. “We know less about what’s deep below our feet than the surface of the Sun or the Moon or Mars,” said University College London researcher Paula Koelemeijer. Scientists are constantly trying to come up with new ways to peek inside Earth indirectly”
Continent-sized anomalous zones with low seismic velocity at the base of Earth’s mantle
“However, the origin and composition of the anomalous provinces is uncertain. These zones have long been depicted as warmer-than-average mantle materials related to convective upwelling. Yet, they may also be chemically distinct from the surrounding mantle, and potentially partly composed of subducted or primordial material, and have therefore been termed thermochemical piles. ”
Origin of the LLSVPs at the base of the mantle is a consequence of plate tectonics – A petrological and geochemical perspective
“In studying the petrogenesis of intra-plate ocean island basalts (OIB) associated with hotspots or mantle plumes, we hypothesized that the two large-low-shear-wave-velocity provinces (LLSVPs) at the base of the mantle beneath the Pacific (Jason) and Africa (Tuzo) are piles of subducted ocean crust (SOC) accumulated over Earth’s history. This hypothesis was formulated using petrology, geochemistry and mineral physics in the context of plate tectonics and mantle circulation. ”
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