As new research emerges, we learn that the rocks from the Rio Grande continental rift offer unique insights of active geology deep inside Earth’s crust. We also get new proof for how continents rest stably over billions of years.
A team of scientists joined their forces and realized quite the discovery. According to the results, we can finally know what happens in Earth’s crust. The scientists also linked what’s preserved in rocks with tectonic processes occurring nowadays that might become a vital step in the development of stable continents.
Here is what you need to know.
Rocks, Crusts, and Intriguing Discoveries
The team’s work
Penn State scientists supervised the team and realized the whole research. Their findings include proof that the mantle’s heat is melting the lower crust of Earth at the rift. That’s the point where tectonic pulls are driving apart and tinning the lithosphere.
The phenomenon is considered one of the most important things to happen. But the way it occurs is sometimes related to the crustal thickening.
Jacob Cipar, one of the Penn State scientists, released a statement. He said:
“Our research suggests that these rocks that have been thought of as related to mountain building may have actually been cooked by a thinning lithosphere like what’s happening in the modern-day Rio Grande rift.”
Our planet’s continents have a special silicon-abundant crust that lets the land to go over the sea level and allow the terrestrial lives to evolve. The crust also comprises something like uranium, some heat-generating elements.
Heating the crust results in molten rock that conducts those elements right to the exterior. The final product consists of a stronger and cooler lower crust that can shield our continents from being swallowed into the mantle.
However, a question remains: what is the source of that heat?
More investigation is needed.
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