Deep Roots of Catastrophe

A seismologist by analyzing seismic waves that bombarded Earth’s core, believes he got a look at the earliest roots of Earth’s most cataclysmic kind of volcanic eruption. But don’t worry! He says it won’t happen for perhaps 200 million years.   Image © Michael S. Thorne, University of Utah

This map shows Earth’s surface superimposed on a depiction of what a new University of Utah study indicates is happening 1,800 miles deep at the boundary between Earth’s warm, rocky mantle and its liquid outer core.



Seismologist Michael Thorne from University of Utah, said:

“What we may be detecting is the start of one of these large eruptive events that – if it ever happens – could cause very massive destruction on Earth.

This is the type of mechanism that may generate massive plume eruptions, but on the timescale of 100 million to 200 million years from now. So don’t cancel your cruises.”

“These very large, massive eruptions may be tied to some extinction events,” Thorne says. The Ontong eruptions have been blamed for oxygen loss in the oceans and a mass die-off of sea life.



The new study, set for publication this week in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, indicates that two or more continent-sized “piles” of rock are colliding as they move at the bottom of Earth’s thick mantle and atop the thicker core some 1,800 miles beneath the Pacific.

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via esciencenews