What is in the center of the Earth? This is a question that intrigues as much as the mysteries that lurk in the depths of the universe. Being a rocky planet, it is logical to theorize that we have a stone core. However, what type of rock and in what state is the question that until now is difficult to answer.
It is complex to know because it is impossible to make a trip by digging into such deep regions of the Earth. The deepest that has been reached was the Kola super-deep well, carried out by the extinct Soviet Union, in 1989, which submerged a little more than 12 kilometers.
Despite this, there are investigations that point out in detail what is under the ground that we step on every day. In fact, a recent study carried out by scientists from the University of Texas at Austin (UTA) managed to detect a new layer under the earth’s crust.
This new region of our planet, obviously unexplored, is located 160 kilometers inland. It is just below the tectonic plates and surprises scientists as it is made of molten rock. Then they analyze if it has any repercussion on the tectonic movements.
Molten Rock Beneath Plate Tectonics: Is It Dangerous?
According to a report published Very interesting, the UTA experts called this new layer “Melt”, which in its translation into Spanish is to melt. The fusion of its rock is partial, so it would generate a slight movement in the plates, without repercussions to worry about.
The location in which scientists place “Melt” is the asthenosphere, a region of the rocky upper mantle.
“When we think of something melting, we intuitively think that melting must play an important role in the viscosity of the material. But what we found is that even when the melt fraction is quite high, its effect on mantle flow is very small,” said Junlin Hua, a postdoctoral fellow in the UTA Jackson School of Geosciences, who led the research.
For years it had been believed that the molten rock found in upper regions was related to plate tectonics. This new study suggests that they don’t always have to be related, since each process occurs regardless of what the other does.