Seismologists in recent years have recast their understanding of the inner workings of Earth from a relatively benign homogeneous environment to one that is highly dynamic and chemically diverse. This new view of Earth's inner workings depicts the planet as a living organism where events that happen deep inside can affect what happens at its surface, like the rub and slip of tectonic plates and the rumble of the occasional volcano.
New research into these dynamic inner workings are now showing that Earth's upper mantle (an area that extends down to 660 km) exhibits how far more than just temperature and pressure play a role in the dynamics of the deep interior.
A study by Nicholas Schmerr, a doctoral student in Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration is shedding light on these processes and showing that they are not just temperature driven. His work helps assess the role chemistry plays in the structure of Earth's mantle.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007