There is a planet inside our planet. And it’s very, very big. This is what researchers at Arizona State University theorize about. How those otherworldly continental pieces got there, what it has to do with the moon, and how scientists used geology and earthquakes to make this hypothesis is a very cool story, and it starts with two planets. Two relatively new and very hot planets.
The current widespread theory about the creation of the moon is that about 4.5 billion years ago, it was not just the earth in the area of the “golden loops” orbiting our sun, but also a second smaller planet called Theia was there, sharing a cross orbit with Earth. And what’s inevitable with intersecting eye sockets is that they will eventually … intersect. Which in this case meant that when Theia and Earth crashed together, these planets were molten at the time, the surfaces melting with volcanic energy and activity, and so Earth essentially absorbed much of it. of the smaller Theia and the impact debris orbit the new single planet and eventually formed the moon.
Theia is also named after the Titaness / Greek Goddess who was the mother of the titans Helios and Selene, respectively gods of the sun and the moon, because this impact literally gave birth to the moon.
This is called the giant impact hypothesis, and was proposed in the 1970s after the Apollo missions to the moon revealed that the composition of moon rocks was not much different from that of terrestrial rocks and gave birth to an entirely new theory about how the moon was formed. But it remains a theory. However, the final chapter of the story may offer further proof that Theia still exists under the cloak of death.
A new study was presented this week at the 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, led by Qian Yuan, a geodynamics researcher at Arizona State University. Yuan and his fellow researchers propose that Theia’s remains reside 1,000 to 2,000 miles under the Earth’s mantle beneath West Africa and the Pacific Ocean. These layers are the size of continents and we know they are there because of the way they interact with the rest of the planet in the form of earthquakes and geological movements.
Seismologists have studied these layers separately from the giant impact hypothesis for many decades, because they have the unique properties of essentially slowing down seismic waves from earthquakes and plate movement. Scientists call these plates large low shear rate provinces or LLSVP. These things are huge and contain about 6 times the mass of the moon and have fascinated seismologists for some time.
Yuan theorizes that LLSVPs behave differently because they are literally different from the rest of the earth chemically, in the same way that moon rocks are different. Think of it as ripples traveling at different speeds through two different liquids. Except on a literal global scale.
Yuan hypothesized after studying the giant impact hypothesis at the same time he was studying LLSVP. Her teacher said that one of the weaknesses of the giant impact hypothesis was that there were no identifiable pieces of Theia on earth. “It really hit me, because at the time I was studying LLSVP,” Yuan told Vice. “I knew people were saying the LLSVP might be even older than the Moon Age.”
He explained, “When I got back to my office, I just did a very simple calculation where I compared the size of the LLSVP to the mantle of Mars, because Theia was thought to be very similar to Mars. The total mass of the Moon, along with the LLSVP, almost perfectly matches the mantle of Mars. Yuan continued from there, comparing, for example, how the moon is about two to three percent denser than the Earth’s mantle and, you guessed it, LLSVPs are also two to three percent denser. than the rest of the coat.
This is all moot at the moment, but samples of the lunar mantle compared to some of the LLSVP could prove that this theory is correct, and it’s just a matter of time and a quick trip to the moon. But it’s amazing to think that part of another planet is inside our own and that we can see the remains of a collision from billions of years ago when we look at the sky. .
(via Observer, image: Pexels)
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