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 lower mantle
whole-mantle convection with tectonic plates preserves long-term global patterns

New insights into the convection patterns of the Earth's mantle and its chemical makeup have been revealed by a researcher from the University of Leicester.

what goes down, must come up: stirring things up in the earth's mantle

"This new research overturns our understanding of how the inside of the Earth convects and stirs, and how it is divided up, and for the first time explains observations that were first noted in the late 1980s" - Dr Tiffany Barry, University of Leicester, Department of GeologyImages of the research and Dr Tiffany Barry available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7z2iydzwlx21qn6/AADrrsQjR6RFA9dBiPnFOf3_a?dl=0New insights into the convection patterns of the Earth's mantle and its chemical makeup have been revealed by a researcher from the University of Leicester. The new findings suggest that the mantle does not flow ubiquitously, as has been previously thought - and that it is instead divided into two very large domains that convect only within themselves, with little evidence of them mixing

rock samples indicate water is key ingredient for crust formation

By examining the cooling rate of rocks that formed more than 10 miles beneath the Earth's surface, scientists led by The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences have found that water probably penetrates deep into the crust and upper mantle at mid-ocean spreading zones, the places where new crust is made. The finding adds evidence to one side of a long-standing debate on how magma from the Earth's mantle cools to form the lower layers of crust.

research reveals the scale at which earth's mantle composition varies

The mantle beneath Earth's mid-oceanic ridges contains heterogeneous blobs of material. A new study puts new constraints on the sizes of those blobs. Credit: Boda LiuNew research by Brown University geochemists provides new insights on the scale at which Earth's mantle varies in chemical composition. The findings could help scientists better understand the mixing process of mantle convection, the slow churning that drives the movement of Earth's tectonic plates.
"We know that the mantle is heterogeneous in composition, but it's been difficult to figure out how large or small those heterogeneities might be," said Boda Liu, a Ph.D. student in geology at Brown. "What we show here is that there must be heterogeneities of at least a kilometer in size to produce the chemical signature we obser

geophysicists uncover new evidence for an alternative style of plate tectonics

Cave city in volcanic rocks of uplifted Central Anatolian plateau. Credit: Russell PysklywecWhen renowned University of Toronto (U of T) geophysicist J. Tuzo Wilson cemented concepts in the emerging field of plate tectonics in the 1960s, he revolutionized the study of Earth's physical characteristics and behaviours. Decades later, successor researchers at U of T and Istanbul Technical University have determined that a series of volcanoes and a mountain plateau across central Turkey formed not solely by the collision of tectonic plates, but instead by a massive drip and then detachment of the lower tectonic plate beneath Earth's surface.
The researchers propose that the reason the Central Anatolian (Turkish) Plateau has risen by as much as one kilometre over the past 10 million years is b

rock samples indicate water is key ingredient for crust formation

By examining the cooling rate of rocks that formed more than 10 miles beneath the Earth's surface, scientists led by The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences have found that water probably penetrates deep into the crust and upper mantle at mid-ocean spreading zones, the places where new crust is made. The finding adds evidence to one side of a long-standing debate on how magma from the Earth's mantle cools to form the lower layers of crust.Nick Dygert, a postdoctoral fellow in the Jackson School's Department of Geological Sciences, led the research which was published in May in the print edition of Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Collaborators include Peter Kelemen of Colombia University and Yan Liang of Brown University.The Earth's mantle is a semi-solid layer

'nesting doll' minerals offer clues to earth's mantle dynamics

Recovered minerals that originated in the deep mantle can give scientists a rare glimpse into the dynamic processes occurring deep inside of the Earth and into the history of the planet's mantle layer. A team led by Yingwei Fei, a Carnegie experimental petrologist, and Cheng Xu, a field geologist from Peking University, has discovered that a rare sample of the mineral majorite originated at least 235 miles below Earth's surface. Their findings are published by Science Advances.

study suggests mid-mantle holds as much water as earth's oceans

TEM images of ringwoodite and bridgmanite before and after annealing. (A) Inverted bright-field image of ringwoodite before annealing (ρi = 11.0/μm2). (B) Inverted bright-field image of ringwoodite after annealing for 12 hours at 2000 K (ρf = 0.87/μm2). (C) Dark-field image of bridgmanite before annealing (ρi = 8.43/μm2). (D) Dark-field image of bridgmanite after annealing for 24 hours at 1600 K (ρf = 4.32/μm2). Rw., ringwoodite; Brg., bridgmanite. Credit: Science Advances  07 Jun 2017: Vol. 3, no. 6, e1603024, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603024(Phys.org)—A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Japan and Germany has found evidence that suggests the middle of Earth's mantle holds as much water as the planet's oceans. In their paper published on the open access site Science Ad

ancient earth's hot interior created 'graveyard' of continental slabs

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Plate tectonics has shaped the Earth's surface for billions of years: Continents and oceanic crust have pushed and pulled on each other, continually rearranging the planet's façade. As two massive plates collide, one can give way and slide under the other in a process called subduction. The subducted slab then slips down through the Earth's viscous mantle, like a flat stone through a pool of honey.For the most part, today's subducting slabs can only sink so far, to about 670 kilometers below the surface, before the mantle's makeup turns from a honey-like consistency, to that of paste -- too dense for most slabs to penetrate further. Scientists have suspected that this density filter existed in the mantle for most of Earth's history. Now, however, geologists at MIT have

iron carbonates in earth's mantle help form diamonds

Under the peculiar conditions present deep in the Earth's mantle, iron carbonates can play a role in forming diamonds, an international team of researchers have found.
Diamonds extracted from depths of some 700 km. bear inclusions that contain carbonates, providing direct evidence that carbonates exist at such depths. However, their range of stability, crystal structures and the thermodynamic conditions of the decarbonation process are not well understood.The scientists – hailing from Russia, France, Germany, Italy and the United States – investigated these carbonates by simulating the peculiar conditions that characterize the Earth's deep mantle, including:Extremely high pressure (equivalent to more than one million times the pressure present in Earth's atmosphere), andExtremely high te

unique diamond impurities indicate water deep in earth's mantle

A UNLV scientist has discovered the first direct evidence that fluid water pockets may exist as far as 500 miles deep into the Earth's mantle.Groundbreaking research by UNLV geoscientist Oliver Tschauner and colleagues found diamonds pushed up from the Earth's interior had traces of unique crystallized water called Ice-VII.The study, "Ice-VII inclusions in Diamonds: Evidence for aqueous fluid in Earth's deep Mantle," was published Thursday in the journal Science.In the jewelry business, diamonds with impurities hold less value. But for Tschauner and other scientists, those impurities, known as inclusions have infinite value, as they may hold the key to understanding the inner workings of our planet.For his study, Tschauner used diamonds found in China, the Republic of South Africa, and Bot

melting temperature of earth's mantle depends on water

IMAGE: This is an image of one of the team's lab mimicry experiments, which was conducted in a capsule made of gold-palladium alloy. The black boxes highlight the locations of olivine...
view more Credit: Image is courtesy of Emily Sarafian.Washington, DC--A joint study between Carnegie and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has determined that the average temperature of Earth's mantle beneath ocean basins is about 110 degrees Fahrenheit (60 Celsius) higher than previously thought, due to water present in deep minerals. The results are published in Science. Earth's mantle, the layer just beneath the crust, is the source of most of the magma that erupts at volcanoes. Minerals that make up the mantle contain small amounts of water, not as a liquid, but as individual molecules in the

scientists discover why rocks flow slowly in earth's middle mantle

As slabs of Earth's crust decend into the mantle, they encounter a zone about 1,100 kilometers down where the mantle rock abruptly becomes stiffer, flowing less easily. Similarly, rising plumes of molten rock encounter the same layer and have difficulty punching through from below. Credit: Dan ShimFor decades, researchers have studied the interior of the Earth using seismic waves from earthquakes. Now a recent study, led by Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration Associate Professor Dan Shim, has re-created in the laboratory the conditions found deep in the Earth, and used this to discover an important property of the dominant mineral in Earth's mantle, a region lying far below our feet.
Shim and his research team combined X-ray techniques in the synchrotron radi

asu-led scientists discover why rocks flow slowly in earth's middle mantle

IMAGE: As slabs of Earth's crust decend into the mantle, they encounter a zone about 1,100 kilometers down where the mantle rock abruptly becomes stiffer, flowing less easily. Similarly, rising plumes...
view more Credit: Dan ShimFor decades, researchers have studied the interior of the Earth using seismic waves from earthquakes. Now a recent study, led by Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration Associate Professor Dan Shim, has re-created in the laboratory the conditions found deep in the Earth, and used this to discover an important property of the dominant mineral in Earth's mantle, a region lying far below our feet.Shim and his research team combined X-ray techniques in the synchrotron radiation facility at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Labs and at

missing hot mantle plume detected beneath yellowstone

Enlarge/ Artist Paintpots, Yellowstone National Park. Brought to you by hot rock almost 3,000 kilometers down?Scott K. JohnsonShare this storyIt’s no secret that family trips to Yellowstone National Park are likely to involve arguments in the back seat, but you may not know that (adult) scientists find plenty to argue about there, as well.Yellowstone is actually just the present manifestation of a family of volcanic events going back almost 20 million years. The textbook explanation for this is that Yellowstone sits atop an example of a “mantle hot spot”—a deep plume of hot rock that rises to the surface of a tectonic plate, periodically punching a line of eruptions as the plate moves. But some scientists have proposed more complex scenarios in recent years.For example, a study we covered

missing hot mantle plume detected beneath yellowstone

Enlarge/ Artist Paintpots, Yellowstone National Park. Brought to you by hot rock almost 3,000 kilometers down?Scott K. JohnsonShare this storyIt’s no secret that family trips to Yellowstone National Park are likely to involve arguments in the back seat, but you may not know that (adult) scientists find plenty to argue about there, as well.Yellowstone is actually just the present manifestation of a family of volcanic events going back almost 20 million years. The textbook explanation for this is that Yellowstone sits atop an example of a “mantle hot spot”—a deep plume of hot rock that rises to the surface of a tectonic plate, periodically punching a line of eruptions as the plate moves. But some scientists have proposed more complex scenarios in recent years.For example, a study we covered

experiments cast doubt on how the earth was formed

New geochemical research indicates that existing theories of the formation of the Earth may be mistaken. The results of experiments to show how zinc (Zn) relates to sulphur (S) under the conditions present at the time of the formation of the Earth more than 4 billion years ago, indicate that there is a substantial quantity of Zn in the Earth's core, whereas previously there had been thought to be none. This implies that the building blocks of the Earth must be different to what has been supposed. The work is presented at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Paris. The researchers, from the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) melted mixtures of iron-rich metal and silicate compounds, containing Zn and S, at high temperatures and pressures up to 80 GPa and 4100K* to experimen

catching mantle plumes by their magma tails

IMAGE: Scientists have now made the best computational modeling yet of mantle plumes, hypothesized, mushroom-shaped upwellings of hot rock from the deep Earth. They plumes are hypothesized to form within the...
view more Credit: Ross MaguireHawaii's volcanos stand as silent sentinels. They guard the secret of how they formed, thousands of miles away from where the edges of tectonic plates clash and generate magma for most volcanos. A 2017 Nature study by Jones et al. found the best clues yet of the origin of Hawaii's volcanos through simulation of a shift in the Pacific plate three million years ago. What remains elusive is conclusive evidence that mantle plumes exist. The plumes are hypothesized, mushroom-shaped upwellings of hot rock from the deep Earth. They are hypothesized to form w

scientists discover why rocks flow slowly in earth's middle mantle

For decades, researchers have studied the interior of the Earth using seismic waves from earthquakes. Now a recent study, led by Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration Associate Professor Dan Shim, has re-created in the laboratory the conditions found deep in the Earth, and used this to discover an important property of the dominant mineral in Earth's mantle, a region lying far below our feet.

earth's tectonic plates are weaker than once thought

Olivine is the primary component of Earth's upper mantle, which comprises the bulk of the planet's tectonic plates. A new study gives researchers a better idea of olivine's strength, with implications for how tectonic plates form and move. Credit: John St. James/FlickrNo one can travel inside the earth to study what happens there. So scientists must do their best to replicate real-world conditions inside the lab.
"We are interested in large-scale geophysical processes, like how plate tectonics initiates and how plates move underneath one another in subduction zones," said David Goldsby, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania. "To do that, we need to understand the mechanical behavior of olivine, which is the most common mineral in the upper mantle of the earth."Goldsby,

clay mineral waters earth's mantle from the inside

Ordinary kaolinite under an electron microscope. Credit: Yonsei University, Yongjae LeeThe first observation of a super-hydrated phase of the clay mineral kaolinite could improve our understanding of processes that lead to volcanism and affect earthquakes. In high-pressure and high-temperature X-ray measurements that were partly conducted at DESY, scientists created conditions similar to those in so-called subduction zones where an oceanic plate dives under the continental crust. The transport and release of water during subduction causes strong volcanic activity. An international team led by scientists of Yonsei University in the Republic of Korea, presents the results in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.
In a subduction zone, a heavy oceanic plate meets a second, lighter contin

catching mantle plumes by their magma tails

Hawaii's volcanos stand as silent sentinels. They guard the secret of how they formed, thousands of miles away from where the edges of tectonic plates clash and generate magma for most volcanos. A 2017 Nature study by Jones et al. found the best clues yet of the origin of Hawaii's volcanos through simulation of a shift in the Pacific plate three million years ago. What remains elusive is conclusive evidence that mantle plumes exist.

supercomputing helps researchers understand earth's interior

IMAGE: Researchers created a three-dimensional representation of predicted slab geometry and mantle flow. The image outlines areas with a temperature at 300 degrees Celsius cooler than the surrounding mantle, with different...
view more Credit: Lijun Liu, University of Illinois.Contrary to posters you may have seen hanging on the walls in science buildings and classrooms, Lijun Liu, professor of geology at Illinois, knows that Earth's interior is not like an onion. While most textbooks demonstrate the outer surface of the Earth as the crust, the next inner level as the mantle, and then the most inner layer as the core, Liu said the reality isn't as clear-cut. "It's not just in layers, because the Earth's interior is not stationary," Liu said. In fact, underneath our feet there's tectonic

asu geoscientists find explanation for puzzling pockets of rock deep in earth's

IMAGE: Tiny regions of compositionally distinct rock (red material, known as ultra-low velocity zones), collect at Earth's core-mantle boundary (tan surface), nearly halfway to the center of our planet. Small accumulations...
view more Credit: Edward Garnero/ASUA team led by geoscientists from Arizona State University and Michigan State University has used computer modeling to explain how pockets of mushy rock accumulate at the boundary between Earth's core and mantle.These pockets, lying roughly 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) below the surface, have been known for many years, but previously lacked an explanation of how they formed.The relatively small rock bodies are termed "ultra-low velocity zones" because seismic waves greatly slow down as they pass through them. Geoscientists have t

supercomputing helps researchers understand earth's interior

Researchers created a three-dimensional representation of predicted slab geometry and mantle flow. The image outlines areas with a temperature at 300 degrees Celsius cooler than the surrounding mantle, with different colors representing different depths. Oceanic plates and slabs are semi-transparent, and continents are entirely transparent. Green arrows represent velocity vectors inside the mantle Credit: Lijun Liu, University of Illinois.Contrary to posters you may have seen hanging on the walls in science buildings and classrooms, Lijun Liu, professor of geology at Illinois, knows that Earth's interior is not like an onion.
While most textbooks demonstrate the outer surface of the Earth as the crust, the next inner level as the mantle, and then the most inner layer as the core, Liu sai

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