Science & Tech

Scientists discover 'hidden planet' buried under the Earth’s surface

Scientists discover 'hidden planet' buried under the Earth’s surface
Humans Have Reshaped Earth's Ecology Over the Past 12,000 Years
ZMG - Amaze Lab / VideoElephant

There’s all sorts of intriguing stuff hidden beneath the Earth’s surface, from massive oceans to water leaking directly into the planet’s core – the latest discovery, though, might be the most interesting of all.

New research has pointed to fascinating findings close to the Earth’s core which experts are claiming to be remains from an ancient planet.

The planet, named Theia, could have collided with our planet billions of years ago and evidence of this event is supposedly found within two blobs far beneath the surface.

These blobs have fascinated the scientific community since they were first discovered back in the 1980s. These structures are the size of entire continents and around twice the size of the moon.

They’re located beneath Africa and the Pacific Ocean, and due to the high iron content of these structures, seismic waves pass through them at a slower rate – leading to them being labelled “large low-velocity provinces” (LLVPs).

A study into these LLVPs was published at the end of 2023 in the journal Nature and featured new findings from Caltech researchers.


Most significantly, the study argues that these structures, which have divided opinion for decades, are actually the remains of Theia, which collided with Earth billions of years ago.

This collision caused the creation of the moon, and the new study argues that the planet was absorbed into the Earth and formed the LLVPs.

“Seismic images of Earth’s interior have revealed two continent-sized anomalies with low seismic velocities, known as the large low-velocity provinces (LLVPs), in the lowermost mantle,” researchers wrote.

“The LLVPs are often interpreted as intrinsically dense heterogeneities that are compositionally distinct from the surrounding mantle.”

They added: “Here we show that LLVPs may represent buried relics of Theia mantle material (TMM) that was preserved in proto-Earth’s mantle after the Moon-forming giant impact.

“Our canonical giant-impact simulations show that a fraction of Theia’s mantle could have been delivered to proto-Earth’s solid lower mantle.”

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