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According to the study, there is an ancient structure that encloses the Earth's core

By: April Carson

Scientists have created a highly-detailed map of the geology beneath the Southern Hemisphere of Earth. The map has uncovered a remarkable find - an ancient ocean floor that could potentially be surrounding the core. This long-lost ocean, thought to be around 2.5 billion years old, is believed to have been formed by the collision of two tectonic plates.

The core-mantle boundary (CMB) is a thin and dense layer that exists approximately 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) beneath the surface. It can be found where the molten, metallic outer core meets the rocky mantle above it.

Studying the detailed information about what lies beneath the Earth's surface is crucial for analyzing various phenomena such as volcanic eruptions and the changes in the Earth's magnetic field that safeguard us from space's solar radiation.

Geophysicists have now revealed that this ancient ocean could be the origin of a prehistoric structure surrounding the Earth's core. This structure is believed to serve as a protective shield against seismic waves and other disturbances that travel through the Earth's mantle.

Geologist Samantha Hansen from the University of Alabama explains that seismic investigations, like the one we conducted, offer the most precise imaging of the planet's internal structure. This imaging has led to the discovery that the planet's internal structure is far more complex than previously believed.

The ancient ocean encasing the Earth's core is comprised of a mineral called kaolinite, which has been found to have exceptionally high levels of electrical conductivity. Moreover, this mineral also acts as a natural barrier that absorbs radiation and other disturbances.

Over three years, Hansen and her colleagues utilized 15 monitoring stations that were embedded in the ice of Antarctica. Their goal was to create a map showcasing seismic waves generated by earthquakes. This allowed them to identify the composition of the various materials residing inside the Earth. Areas, where sound waves travel slower, were dubbed ultralow velocity zones (ULVZs).

The researchers found that ULVZs were concentrated in the same locations as the kaolinite deposits, hinting that this mineral may be an important factor in containing seismic waves.

According to geophysicist Edward Garnero from Arizona State University, our high-definition imaging method detected thin anomalous zones of material at the CMB throughout all our probes while analyzing thousands of seismic recordings from Antarctica.

The researchers suggest that the varying thickness of the material, ranging from a few kilometers to tens of kilometers, indicates the presence of mountains on the core that could be up to five times taller than Mt. Everest. They also believe that these ULVZs are most probably oceanic crust that has been buried for millions of years.

The structure itself is so massive that it is believed to be the largest enclosed body on Earth, encompassing nearly 4% of the planet's volume. Scientists believe this ancient structure predates even our oldest recorded history and could have been present since the formation of planet Earth.

According to the study's simulations, although the sunken crust is not near any recognized subduction zones on the surface where shifting tectonic plates push the rock down into Earth's interior, convection currents could have moved the ancient ocean floor to its present location.

The researchers are uncertain about the rock types and movement indicated by seismic wave movements and are exploring other possibilities, but currently favor the ocean floor hypothesis as the most probable explanation for the ULVZs.

It is suggested that the thin ancient oceanic crust might be encircling the core, though it's not confirmed. Further seismic surveys in the future can provide additional information about this matter. In the meantime, this discovery brings us one step closer to understanding the inner workings of our planet. It's exciting to think about what more we might uncover in time!

The study is an important reminder that Earth's interior is a complex and dynamic system, and further research could help us better understand its structure and composition.

Geologists can use the discovery to understand how heat from the core, which is hotter and denser, rises to the mantle. This will be helpful because the composition of the core and mantle differs significantly compared to the solid surface rock and air on the Earth's surface where we live.

By further researching the Earth's core, scientists can gain a better understanding of plate tectonics and how our planet has changed over time. This new knowledge could lead to improved seismic hazard assessment and forecasting of volcanic eruptions, which would ultimately have beneficial effects for us on the surface.

Hansen says that the research establishes significant links between the structure of the Earth's shallow and deep regions and the processes that govern the planet. "By studying the Earth's ancient structure, we can look back in time to study how it has changed over millions of years," he says. "This is an important step forward in our understanding of the planet's evolution."

These connections are fundamental to understanding the evolution and dynamics of the Earth's interior. The discovery of this ancient structure is an important step in that direction. To continue advancing our knowledge, further research will be necessary to refine our understanding of the Earth’s core and its impact on global systems.

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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav



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