Scientists unlock secrets of ancient magma ocean 840 miles underground

Illustration for article titled Scientists unlock secrets of ancient magma ocean 840 miles underground

Scientists have unlocked the secrets of molten magma at a depth of 1400 kilometers using the most brilliant X-ray source in the planet. Their findings are crucial to understand the formation of Earth.

They have discovered that the high pressure makes magma so dense that other rocks sit on top of it instead of sinking in. This solves the disparity between existing duration estimates of our planet's earliest geological eras and the scientific models that describe the cooling of magma.

Their findings also supports the existence of two magma oceans at one point in Earth's genesis, sitting on top of each other deeply underground. They believe that the ancient basal ocean still exists in crystalize form, with some areas still in molten form.


According to study co-author Chrystèle Sanloup from the University of Edinburgh, "at low pressure, magmas are much more compressible than their crystalline counterparts, while they are almost as stiff above 35 GPa. This implies that early in the history of the Earth, when it started crystallizing, magmas may have been negatively buoyant at the bottom of both, upper and lower mantle, resulting in the existence of two magma oceans, separated by a crystalline layer, as has been proposed earlier by other scientists."

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