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2013-03-20. Scientists Discover Layer of Liquified Molten Rock in Earth's Mantle

posted Mar 23, 2013, 10:36 AM by Alan Gould
| NSF Press Release 13-045. Relevant to GSS Energy Flow chapter 2. Excerpt: Scientists have discovered a layer of liquified molten rock in Earth's mantle that may be responsible for the sliding motions of the planet's massive tectonic plates. The finding may carry far-reaching implications, from understanding basic geologic functions of the planet to new insights into volcanism and earthquakes. ...The scientists discovered the magma layer at the Middle America trench off Nicaragua's shores. Using advanced seafloor electromagnetic imaging technology pioneered at SIO [Scripps Institution of Oceanography], the scientists imaged a 25-kilometer- (15.5-mile-) thick layer of partially melted mantle rock below the edge of the Cocos plate where it moves beneath Central America. ...For decades scientists have debated the forces that allow the planet's tectonic plates to slide across the Earth's mantle. ..."One of the longer-term implications of our results is that we are going to understand more about the plate boundary, which could lead to a better understanding of earthquakes," said Key. The researchers are now trying to find the source that supplies the magma in the newly discovered layer. See full article at http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=127315&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click.