Earthquakes, and especially the most important ones, cause fear in our hearts and sympathy for those who are exposed to them. In this case, although a massive earthquake brought a new discovery of our planet.
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Some Princeton geophysicists, in collaboration with Sidao of the Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics of China, have explored data of a magnitude 8.2 earthquake, the second-largest earthquake ever recorded, which shook Bolivia in 1994 to find mountains and another topography on a layer 660 kilometers (410 miles) under us.
If this seems to be a good example of making lemonade from lemonade, that's the case. Scientists studying the Earth's core do so using the most powerful waves that happen to be earthquakes.
The limit of 660 km
Now, the layer discovered from the data of this ancient earthquake has been nicknamed by researchers "the limit of 660 km". And according to them, the border is incredibly rough.
"In other words, the 660 km border is stronger than the Rocky Mountains or Appalachians," said the minister. Wenbo Wu, geophysicist at Princeton.
Researchers also believe that these underground mountains may be larger than at the surface. In addition, just like on Earth, they found that the roughness was not evenly distributed. Instead, there was a variety of rough and smooth areas.
Before rejecting this as a fun but useless knowledge, it is important to note that the new discovery has crucial implications for understanding how our planet has formed and even how it works today. This newly discovered layer divides the mantle, a section that includes about 84 percent of the volume of the Earth.
Mix thermally or physically
For years, geoscientists have debated the importance of this boundary. Some research has stated that the upper and lower layers are chemically different, while others have deduced that they are not. This difference is notable because the former would assume that the layers do not mix thermally or physically, while the other would assume.
"Our findings provide insight into this issue," Wu said.
Fortunately for everyone, the new data suggests that both opinions might be right. The smoother areas of the 660 km limit could have come from the mix, while the mountainous areas could indicate areas where the two coats did not mix and blend as well.
"It is easy to assume, since we can detect only seismic waves crossing the Earth in their current state, that seismologists can not help to understand how the Earth's interior has changed at the moment. past 4.5 billion years, "said Jessica Irving, geophysicist at Princeton. "What's interesting about these results is that they provide us with new information to understand the fate of the old tectonic plates that have descended into the mantle and where the old mantle material may still reside."
The study is published this week in Science.