posted on Jun, 9 2014 @ 10:04 PM
Ancient gases trapped deep within the Earth's mantle may reveal clues about our planet's earliest days, according to a new study.
For the past decade scientists believed our planet's memory was reset 4.5 billion years ago when an object the size of Mars slammed into the Earth,
releasing enough energy to cause most of the Earth to turn into a liquid magma ocean.
Any clues to the planet's earlier past, scientists thought, likely got melted away in this last, great impact, which also created our moon.
However, Sujoy Mukhopadhyay, a geochemist at Harvard University has found evidence that the impact may not have affected the whole planet in the same
"The simulations we are doing now indicate that some regions got melted and vaporized, while the opposite side of the planet did not melt at all," he
said Monday after presenting his research at the Goldschmidt conference in Sacramento.
Some scientists believe that if the entire Earth did not melt, then that could mean there may be a few hidden vestiges of our planet from a time
before the moon
And from that, scientists maybe able to learn more about the Earth's infancy and planetary formation in general
Studies done on volcanic rocks from different parts of the world, measured the gases trapped inside, and has been shown that the gases vary in volume
in the shallow mantle vs. deeper mantle
Which means, that if the entire Earth became liquid after the last major impact 4.5 billion years ago, there would NOT be a difference in the isotope
ratio in the two parts of the mantle
Therefore, the researchers conclude, only part of the mantle melted all the way at that time
Mukhopadhyay said the next step is to make more measurements of rocks from different hot spots around the world, and then use that information to
build more realistic models of giant impacts.
"What this means is the Earth has memories that go back further than we thought," he said.
Very interesting, thought I would share this....
edit on 9-6-2014 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)