There's a very strange world deep beneath our feet. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 NikoLang
Scientists studying our planet's interior have found previously unknown structures beneath the surface.
Situated deep beneath the Pacific Ocean between the Earth's core and mantle, these mysterious structures were discovered by analyzing the seismic data from earthquakes.
When an earthquake occurs, the seismic waves produced travel thousands of miles.
One of the most important aspects of these waves is that their properties change when they pass through materials of different densities, temperatures or compositions.
Using special seismometer stations around the world, scientists are able to pick up and analyze the properties of these waves to build up a picture of the planet's internal structure.
This latest discovery, which was made by geophysicists at the University of Maryland, focused on waves known as shear waves as they traveled beneath the Pacific Ocean basin.
"By looking at thousands of core-mantle boundary echoes at once, instead of focusing on a few at a time, as is usually done, we have gotten a totally new perspective," said lead author Doyeon Kim.
"This is showing us that the core-mantle boundary region has lots of structures that can produce these echoes, and that was something we didn't realize before because we only had a narrow view."
It currently remains unclear exactly what these structures are composed of, however a further analysis should help to improve our understanding of the Earth's interior.
Source: IFL Science | Comments (16)
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