Tag Archives: volcanic rocks

Building Blocks of Early Earth Survived Collision that Created Moon

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Unexpected new findings by a University of Maryland team of geochemists show that some portions of the Earth’s mantle (the rocky layer between Earth’s metallic core and crust) formed when the planet was much smaller than it is now, and that some of this early-formed mantle survived Earth’s turbulent formation, including a collision with another planet-sized body that many scientists believe led to the creation of the Moon.

“It is believed that Earth grew to its current size by collisions of bodies of increasing size, over what may have been as much as tens of millions of years, yet our results suggest that some portions of the Earth formed within 10 to 20 million years of the creation of the Solar System and that parts of the planet created during this early stage of construction remained distinct within the mantle until at least 2.8 billion years ago.” says UMD Professor of Geology Richard Walker, who led the research team. (more…)

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Iceland Volcano’s Molten Rock Could Become Source of High-Grade Energy

*Krafla volcano gives geologists unique, unexpected opportunity to study magma*

Geologists drilling an exploratory geothermal well in 2009 in the Krafla volcano in Iceland met with a big surprise: underground lava, also called magma, flowed into the well at 2.1 kilometers (6,900 feet) depth.

It forced the scientists to stop drilling. (more…)

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‘Novel Ocean-Crust Mechanism Could Affect World’s Carbon Budget’

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…)

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