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Current Affairs

Massive mountains discovered under Earth’s Mantle

Date: 18 February 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous

Scientists from Princeton University in US and Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics in China have discovered massive mountains in Earth’s mantle. This layer has not been named yet and simply is called as “660 kilometres boundary”. This new discovery could change understanding of formation of Earth.

Note: Earth’s interior basically has three layers: crust, mantle and core (subdivided inner and outer core). There are also several other layers that scientists have identified within Earth.

Key Findings

  • This discovery was made by analyzing data from one of biggest earthquakes ever recorded in Bolivia in 1994, measuring 8.2 on Richter scale. It was second-largest deep earthquake ever recorded.
  • Scientists had used powerful computers and simulated complicated behaviour of scattering earthquake (seismic) waves in deep earth.
  • Using this data, mountains and other topography on layer located 660 km straight down were discovered. This mountain layer separates upper and lower mantle.
  • It was found that seismic waves scattered while travelling inside earth to constrain roughness of earth's 660-km boundary.
  • It shows that topography of 660-km boundary was stronger topography than Rocky Mountains or Appalachians.
  • Researchers also had examined layer 410 km down at top of mid-mantle “transition zone,” and they did not find similar roughness.
  • The presence of roughness on 660-km boundary has significant implications for understanding how our planet formed and evolved.