Science & Tech

'Mountains' taller than Everest discovered on 'ancient structure' around Earth's core

'Mountains' taller than Everest discovered on 'ancient structure' around Earth's core
The Earth’s Core is Cooling Faster Than Previously Expected
ZMG - Amaze Lab / VideoElephant

A new study into the Earth beneath our feet has discovered that an ancient ocean floor structure could be wrapped around the planet's core which could be taller that Mount Everest in some areas.

A brand new high-resolution mapping of the core has uncovered things that scientists previously didn't know according to a study that was first published in April.

The discovery found that a thin but dense layer sits at around 2,900 kilometers below the surface at the Core Mantle Boundary where rocks meet the molten outer core of the planet.

Geologist Samantha Hansen from the University of Alabama is quoted in the study saying: "Seismic investigations, such as ours, provide the highest resolution imaging of the interior structure of our planet, and we are finding that this structure is vastly more complicated than once thought."

She adds: "Our research provides important connections between shallow and deep Earth structure and the overall processes driving our planet.”

Hansen and her team conducted the research from 15 different stations in Antarctica by using seismic waves created by Earthquakes to create a map of what the inside of the planet looks like.

The team identified the unexpected energy within seconds of the boundary-reflected wave from the seismic data. The findings show that although the layer is very thin it does spread for many, many kilometers and has been called the ultra-low velocity zone (ULVZs) due to its strong wave speed reductions.

Due to the properties of the ULVZs the experts believe that the layer could vary dramatically in height. Geophysicist Edward Garnero from Arizona State University adds: "The material's thickness varies from a few kilometers to [tens] of kilometers. This suggests we are seeing mountains on the core, in some places up to five times taller than Mt. Everest."

These underground mountains could play a significant role in how heat escapes from the Earth's core and power magnetic fields and volcanic eruptions.

The team's studies suggest that the layer could encase all of the core but further research will have to be carried out to determine if that is the case.

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