What is Known About Mysterious Continent-Sized Blobs Within Earth's Core?

CC0 / / Planet earth center core
Planet earth center core - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.05.2022
Despite humanity's outer space aspirations, the structure of our own planet remains a mystery to us.
Deep inside the Earth's core, there are gigantic lamps that are estimated to be the size of a continent, and scientists are still struggling to find out their origin and impact on our planet.
They have different names: someone refers to them as "thermo-chemical piles", while others prefer "large low-shear velocity provinces" or simply go by "the blobs".
According to a 2016 study, the two biggest "blobs" are located deep below the Pacific Ocean and Africa, and they amount to some 10% of the entire mantle's mass (4.01 × 1024 kg). They are also known to be hotter than their surroundings.
The more studies are conducted to find out some new details about the "blobs", the more mysterious they seem. In 2020, Doyeon Kim, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland at the UMD Department of Geology, along with his colleagues, revealed that with the use of data provided by the analysis of the seismic waves, scientists could have a better look at the mysterious inner-Earth lamps.
"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," he said. "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."
Particularly, the 2020 study detected a previously unknown structure below the volcanic Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific, also revealing that the structure beneath the Hawaiian Islands is much larger than the scientists initially presumed.
Many things about the "blobs" remain unknown. For instance, scientists are unsure as to when exactly they formed and how it happened, suggesting they could be a result of some kind of a cosmic collision. According to professor Sujoy Mukhopadhyay of the University of California, Davis, if those things are "truly ancient”, then their origin “tells us something about how our planet formed”.
But even with humanity capable of reaching out to outer space and faraway galaxies, our scientists remain unsure about what is hidden in the core of our very own Earth. However, according to Doyeon Kim, this is "what makes our field of study so exciting."
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала