Skip to comments.Scripps scientists discover 'lubricant' for Earth's tectonic plates
Posted on 03/20/2013 2:38:22 PM PDT by BenLurkin
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have found a layer of liquefied molten rock in Earth's mantle that may be acting as a lubricant for the sliding motions of the planet's massive tectonic plates. The discovery may carry far-reaching implications, from solving basic geological functions of the planet to a better understanding of volcanism and earthquakes. The scientists discovered the magma layer at the Middle America trench offshore Nicaragua. Using advanced seafloor electromagnetic imaging technology pioneered at Scripps, 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 underneath Central America.
The new images of magma were captured during a 2010 expedition aboard the U.S. Navy-owned and Scripps-operated research vessel Melville. After deploying a vast array of seafloor instruments that recorded natural electromagnetic signals to map features of the crust and mantle, the scientists realized they found magma in a surprising place.
"This was completely unexpected," said Key, an associate research geophysicist in the Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Scripps. "We went out looking to get an idea of how fluids are interacting with plate subduction, but we discovered a melt layer we weren't expecting to find at all -- it was pretty surprising."
For decades scientists have debated the forces and circumstances that allow the planet's tectonic plates to slide across Earth's mantle. Studies have shown that dissolved water in mantle minerals results in a more ductile mantle that would facilitate tectonic plate motions, but for many years clear images and data required to confirm or deny this idea were lacking.
(Excerpt) Read more at esciencenews.com ...
However, Man-Made Tectonic Collisions scares the crap out of me.
So is the lube made of oil?
Nope. Molted rock. Oil just burn if it hit that molted rock stuff.
not surprising, living breathing planet and all .. how the Mole people put up with the heat is beyond me.
Puts a real limit to the depth we can expect to dig tunnels.
Response #4 covers that. They molt, sort've like snakes I guess.
*Marvin Gaye "Let's Get It On" sold separately.
Ah Mr. Plate - Mr. Tectonic Plate? We've, uh, noticed that your air filter is a bit dirty - you want to take care of that while you're here?
... layer of liquefied molten rock in Earth's mantle that may be acting as a lubricant for the sliding motions of the planet's massive tectonic plates... may carry far-reaching implications, from solving basic geological functions of the planet to a better understanding of volcanism and earthquakes.Since there's nothing to explain plate tectonics neé continental drift, almost a human lifetime since the "Plate Tectonics Revolution", this could be a nice change, or just be more same old same old. At least it sez "may". :')