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Scripps Scientists Discover 'Lubricant' for Earth's Tectonic Plates


knocker

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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have found a layer of liquefied molten rock in Earth's mantle that may be acting as a lubricant for the sliding motions of the planet's massive tectonic plates. The discovery may carry far-reaching implications, from solving basic geological functions of the planet to a better understanding of volcanism and earthquakes.

The scientists discovered the magma layer at the Middle America trench offshore Nicaragua. Using advanced seafloor electromagnetic imaging technology pioneered at Scripps, the scientists imaged a 25-kilometer- (15.5-mile-) thick layer of partially melted mantle rock below the edge of the Cocos plate where it moves underneath Central America.

http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=1331

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