Deep within Earth, researchers are finding hints of exotic materials and behaviors unrivaled anywhere else on the planet. Now a team of researchers is making connections between the dynamic activities deep inside Earth and geologic features at its surface.
The researchers, which include two seismologists from Arizona State University, have detected a relatively small and isolated patch of exotic material, called an ultra low velocity zone (ULVZ), that may in fact be a "root" for mantle plumes that connect Earths hot and tumultuous core and its surface. Specifically, the researchers have found a spot at Earths core-mantle boundary, 3,000 km (1,900 miles) deep inside Earth that could play a pivotal role in the formation and existence of volcanic islands and island chains like Hawaii.
"This is a small and very isolated region of possibly molten mantle material that is sitting at Earths core mantle boundary," said Sebastian Rost, an ASU faculty research associate. Rost and fellow researchers -- seismologist Edward Garnero of ASU, Quentin Williams of the University of California-Santa Cruz, and Michael Manga of University of California Berkeley -- recently detected an ultra low velocity zone, a region where seismic waves propagate extremely slowly, under the southwest Pacific Ocean. They report their findings in the June 2 issue of Nature.
Skip Derra | EurekAlert!
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