Shortly after the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago, The Mars-sized celestial body Theia collided with the primordial Earth. Our Moon was created from debris thrown into space – a mixture of material from Theia and the primordial Earth. but Remnants of Theia also live deep in the Earth’s mantle, as discovered by a research team from the United States and the United Kingdom. Two previously puzzling regions of increased density can be explained as accumulations of Theia, the researchers write in the scientific journal Nature.
“Seismic studies of the Earth’s interior show two continent-sized regions where seismic waves propagate very slowly” – Explains Qian Yuan of Arizona State University and his team of researchers. The deep regions of the Earth’s mantle differ in composition from the surrounding mantle material and are 2 to 3.5 percent denser. Until now, there has been no generally accepted scientific explanation for this phenomenon.
Yuan and his colleagues have now used large-scale computer simulations to show that such denser regions are a natural result of large collisions during planet formation, and that these two anomalies located deep in Earth’s mantle beneath the Pacific Ocean and beneath Africa may be the remains of planet Earth. Thea.
The density of the mantle is two to three and a half percent higher
Based on the composition of the Moon consisting of Earth and Theia, Yuan and his colleagues obtained the density of Theia’s mantle fragments, which… 2 to 3.5% higher than Earth’s natural mantle. As the team’s simulations also show, parts of Theia’s mantle up to fifty kilometers in size collapsed into the Earth’s interior, where they came together to form larger structures above the Earth’s core.
The important aspect is that these higher pressures can remain stable in the Earth’s mantle for more than four and a half billion years, that is, until today, as computer models show. There is other evidence that speaks in favor of Yuan and the team’s hypothesis: A form of volcanic basalt has been found in Hawaii that is remarkably similar in composition to lava plain rocks on the Moon.. This rock may come from the material Theia, hidden deep in Hawaii.
However, Yuan and colleagues’ model is not just about the Earth-Moon system. Scientists confirm that “large collisions are a common phenomenon in the last stage of planet formation.” “Similar inhomogeneities may therefore exist in the interiors of other planets.” Perhaps traces of previous collisions can be found within the Earth.
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