Skip to comments.Scientists probe 'hole in Earth'
Posted on 07/31/2008 3:42:07 AM PDT by Fred Nerks
Scientists are to sail to the mid-Atlantic to examine a massive "open wound" on the Earth's surface. Dr Chris MacLeod, from Cardiff University, said the Earth's crust appeared to be missing across an area of several thousand square kilometres.
The hole in the crust is midway between the Cape Verde Islands and the Caribbean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
The team will survey the area, up to 5km (3 miles) under the surface, from ocean research vessel RRS James Cook.
The ship is on its inaugural voyage after being named in February.
Dr MacLeod said the hole in the Earth's crust was not unique, but was recognised as one of the most significant.
He said it was an "open wound on the surface of the Earth", where the oceanic crust, usually 6-7km thick (3.7-4.3 miles), was simply not there.
"Usually the plates are pulled apart and to fill the gap the mantle underneath has to rise up. As it comes up it starts to melt. That forms the magma," he said.
"That's the normal process. Here it has gone awry for some reason.
"The crust does not seem to be repairing itself."
Dr MacLeod said the research could lead to a "new way of understanding" the process of plate tectonics.
The scientist will test theories he developed after visiting the area in 2001 - including the possibility the missing crust was caused by a "detachment fracture".
"Effectively it's a huge rupture - one side is being pulled away from the other. It's created a rupture so big it's actually pulled the entire crust away.
"We also think the mantle did not melt as much as usual and that the normal amount of mantle was not produced."
As a result, the mantle is exposed to seawater, creating a rock called serpentinite...
(Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
A rock called serpentinite is exposed at the surface
Must have been catastrophic.
Anyone hazard a guess as to how long it will be before brother Al yells: “Global Warming!” Women, minorities and tectonic plates hit hardest.
If I recall from my hiking days in the Sierra Nevada, serpentine is actually pretty common, which, if this article is not an academic scam, would mean that this event is only interesting because it is happening now rather than in the past. The good doctor can observe serpentine being made, rather than having to infer how it came to be by extracting it from native rock.
I say ‘common’ because a friend of mine had a pipe made from serpentine he personally found on a hiking trip. It’s a pretty nifty looking rock, too.
One last criticism: what is the shape of this ‘hole’? From the text I tend to infer that it is more of a ‘gash’ than a ‘hole’. And yes, I understand that ‘hole in the earth’ is a much more effective phrasing, if you want people to look and not instantly be offended.
OTOH, this came from the BBC, which to me is only slightly more credible than the NYT. How sadly have the great fallen.
Thank goodness this happens near the equator./sarc off
Hollow earth theorists indubitably will regard the centrifugal forces as holding back the ocean’s volumes from draining into Hell itself, but then again what keeps the demons from getting out?
I guess Al Gore can sumise the draining of the ocenas is making up for the melting icecaps not flooding the coastlines.
So many questions, so little time....
Who says they don't get out?
Nice...make a good counter top.
So in effect, the earth has a hernia?
Seems to me we’d have had some significant earthquakes, mebbe tidal waves etc.
Kind of offset that effect by prefacing hole w/ "probing" in the title..:)
“probing” should be “probe”..
No coffee yet.
Scientists are ‘probing’ Earth’s hole...
Is that what they want to call it now?
Isnt serpentine also what I use to look for on the beach at Jade Cove in San Simeon aka California Jade?
That is my thought a hernia.
I guess if the next level bulges out then yes a earth hernia it is.
The way the article is written it screams mother earth style.
Perhaps the good Doctor was explaining it in simplistic terms only to make it understandable to the journalist.
I was a kid when the first came out in 1959. It starred Pat Boone, Arlene Dahl and James Mason. It was nominated for 3 Academy Awards! they entered in an extinct volcano in Iceland, (which is a Northern portion of Mid Atlantic Rift!) and exited through Mount Vesuvius where they stopped off for some Pizza!
I'm a Jules Verne afficiando and can't wait for this new film.
a little background -
“Dr Bramley Murton, from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, is the third expert taking part.”
You may enjoy this:
We saw it in 3D the weekend it opened.
Good Popcorn muncher.
Al Gore’s hemorrhoid
Check Hillary's pantsuit.
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