Yale geophysicists reported that Earth’s ever-shifting, underground network of tectonic plates was firmly in place more than 4 billion years ago — at least a billion years earlier than scientists generally thought. (more…)
Tag Archives: tectonic plates
A new study by geochemists from Brown University suggests that Earth’s mantle varies in composition over kilometer-sized pockets.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — New research by Brown University geochemists provides new insights on the scale at which Earth’s mantle varies in chemical composition. The findings could help scientists better understand the mixing process of mantle convection, the slow churning that drives the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates. (more…)
Electrical Images Show Upward Flow of Fluids to Magma Chamber
By measuring how fast Earth conducts electricity and seismic waves, a University of Utah researcher and colleagues made a detailed picture of Mount Rainier’s deep volcanic plumbing and partly molten rock that will erupt again someday.
“This is the most direct image yet capturing the melting process that feeds magma into a crustal reservoir that eventually is tapped for eruptions,” says geophysicist Phil Wannamaker, of the university’s Energy & Geoscience Institute and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “But it does not provide any information on the timing of future eruptions from Mount Rainier or other Cascade Range volcanoes.” (more…)
A team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has discovered that microscopic bacteria have a lot in common with earthquakes — when it comes to their jolting movements.
In a new study published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists also report that a molecular “glue” produced by the bacteria to help them adhere to surfaces also acts as a sort of transportation lubricant, helping them move and organize into rudimentary social structures. These discoveries, they say, could lead to new ways to combat harmful microbes in the long term. (more…)
The Earth is constantly manufacturing new crust, spewing molten magma up along undersea ridges at the boundaries of tectonic plates. The process is critical to the planet’s metabolism, including the cycle of underwater life and the delicate balance of carbon in the ocean and atmosphere.
Now, scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have observed ocean crust forming in an entirely unexpected way—one that may influence those cycles of life and carbon and, in turn, affect the much-discussed future of the world’s climate.
Working at the Guaymas basin in the Gulf of California, WHOI scientists confirmed what they suspected from brief glimpses of the area during previous missions: The inner Earth is injecting swaths of magma called sills as far as 50 kilometers away from the plate boundary, on each side of the ridge —nearly 10 times farther from such an active ocean ridge than had been observed before. (more…)