A new set of measurements has allowed a Florida State University geochemist to confirm what other scientists have only suspected about what lies deep below the Earths surface.
Professor Munir Humayun has found that there is a higher iron content in the Earths mantle beneath Hawaii compared to other regions of the mantle. Hotspot islands, such as Hawaii, arise from hot plumes of solid rock from deep within the mantle or the core-mantle boundary that ascend at rates of a few centimeters per year.
While seismologists had long thought that the Earths deep mantle - the rocky layer between 1,000 to 3,000 kilometers deep - beneath the Hawaiian islands has a higher concentration of iron, no one had ever precisely measured it until now, according to Humayun. Iron is one of the four main components of the mantle. "This is a major intellectual advance for science," Humayun said. "The fact that scientists can stand on the Earths surface and tell you whats going on 3,000 kilometers below is a real breakthrough."
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