Two giant structures in Earth’s crust may be ancient planetary remnants

Many of us look to the stars for answers to life’s most complex questions. But in reality, some great mysteries lie beneath our feet.

One might think that we know Earth well by now, but in reality, the core of our planet is shrouded in mystery.

In fact, there are two gigantic bubbles beneath Africa and the Pacific Ocean, which occupy six percent of the world’s total volume. And yet, we still don’t fully know what they are made of or where they came from.

There are several hypotheses that they are piles of oceanic crust that have accumulated over billions of years.

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But the most interesting theory is that they are large chunks of an ancient planet that hit Earth about 4.5 billion years ago.

To give an indication of how big these things are, the structure under Africa – called Tuso – is thought to be about 800 km (497 miles) high – the equivalent of 90 Mount Everest stacked on top of each other. IFLScienceNotes.

The problem with determining the origin of these monster systems is that there is no way to directly observe the Earth’s core.

The deepest hole ever dug by humans – dubbed the „Entrance to Hell” – reached a height of 12,263 m (40,230 ft), but it didn’t even come close to breaching the crust to the layers below.

Our best tool for analyzing what’s underground is a technique that looks at how waves of energy travel when earthquakes occur.

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Because rocks and liquids have different densities, waves move through them at different speeds.

By measuring tremors from different points on the surface, geologists can determine what kind of material the waves are traveling through and, in doing so, map the Earth’s interior.

Using this technique two unusual structures – known as large low shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs) – were detected.

The waves travel much more slowly in these regions – affectionately called “bubbles” – than the surrounding lower crust, indicating that they are made of something else.

It’s impossible to say what the object is based solely on seismic tomography data, but some scientists want to believe they are the remains of an ancient planet called Thea – a so-called „giant impact hypothesis.”

According to this hypothesis, about 4.5 billion years ago, an object the size of Mars collided with Earth.

The impact not only formed the planet we call home today, but it also hurled enough rock to form the moon that lights up our night sky.

Some scientists believe that some of Thea’s remnant material has sunk to the bottom of the planet, perhaps settling somewhere above the core — thereby creating at least one of the two LLSVPs.

More Updates on Strange Blob Structures Inside Planet EarthNetwork light

Experts have been studying the region for decades, but there’s still no way to know for sure what these two giant bubbles are.

However, studies of Thea have provided important insights into how the potential collision may have kickstarted major plate tectonic and mantle movement inside our planet — processes crucial to the establishment of the world we live on.

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It’s a useful reminder that there’s still a lot to learn about our planet and where we came from.

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