Geologists manage to dig into the bowels of the Earth and extract rocks from the mantle

For decades, geologists have tried to penetrate the Earth’s crust to sample what lies below: the mantle is that layer of lower Earth responsible for the dynamics of plate tectonics. The movement of those, above all, Their clashes are what generate mountains and valleys And of course volcanoes and earthquakes. Now, a group of scientists managed to reach this underground level.

This team of researchers managed to drill nearly a mile into a seamount in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Thanks to this perforation, they were able to extract it Coveted material not previously obtained: pieces of Earth’s rocky mantle. Now, this isn’t the deepest dig ever. They didn’t even reach the mantle, but the experts took advantage of an area on the sea floor favorable for this task.

The expedition, which was aboard the ocean drilling vessel Resolution JOIDES, entered the “tectonic window” in the North Atlantic where you don’t have to dig as deep to find this material. In these windows, mantle rocks have been pushed closer to the surface. Thanks to the ocean floor slowly separating at the near mid-Atlantic ridge. The well, named U1601C, began drilling on May 1.

Some unique samples

The researchers hoped to get enough samples to help discover how chemical reactions between mantle rocks and water could give rise to life on our planet. The excavation work ended on June 2 and reached a depth of 1.3 km below the sea floor.. From this extraction a large number of dark stone tubes were obtained many of them surprisingly complete.

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“We have achieved an outstanding achievement that has kept the scientific community waiting for many decades,” he explained. Washington Post Andrew McKeag, co-science director of the mission, who recalls that since 1960 they’ve wanted to make a hole of this size in the mantle. Scientists on the ground were watching the mission closely, expectantly A large amount of data will open a window into the depths of the Earth It will fuel years of research.

[Pablo Suárez, el geólogo poeta: “No voy a dedicarle nunca un poema a la tectónica de placas”]

In any case, the mantle isn’t completely uncharted because volcanic eruptions often spew out chunks of greenish peridotite, the rock most abundant in the upper mantle. However, these specimens, known as mantle xenoliths, have their limitations to research as they erode their way to the surface. “If you think of the earth as a cake with frosting: You want the cake itself, not just eating the frostingexplains Jessica Warren, professor of geosciences at the University of Delaware. “If we want to understand the Earth as a whole, there is a huge amount of rock underneath.”

Mined mantle cores are dominated by peridotite, a rock that has already been noted to be very common in the upper mantle and, unfortunately, has been altered by seawater exposure, so scientists are debating how to analyze these samples. “Most of the mantle is buried under the crust, and has not been exposed to seawater as exposed at this point. This raises a fundamental question: How similar are the obtained samples to the rest of the mantle? Could they be representatives of this layer of the Earth? they ask This article is in The Washington Post.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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