Earth’s crust “drips like honey” into the bowels of the planet

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(ORDO NEWS) — After conducting the experiment, and then comparing its results with real geological data, the researchers found convincing evidence that the earth’s crust “avalanched” for hundreds of miles in the Andes. After that, she was absorbed by the viscous mantle. Writes about it Live Science.

The process, called lithospheric dripping, has been going on for millions of years in places around the world, including the Anatolian Plateau of Turkey and the Great Basin Desert of the United States. But scientists learned about the existence of this process not so long ago.

Earths crust drips like honey into the bowels of the planet 2
On the left is a geological map of the Arizaro Basin in the Andes showing faults. On the right is a view of the surface obtained as a result of experimental modeling of lithospheric dripping

“We have confirmed that surface deformation in the Andean region is causing much of the lithosphere [the Earth‘s crust and upper mantle] to avalanche downward,” said Julia Andersen, a geoscience researcher at the University of Toronto.

The expert clarifies: “Due to its high density, the mass seeps like cold syrup or honey deeper into the bowels of the planet and is probably responsible for two major tectonic events in the Central Andes – a shift in the topography of the surface of the region by hundreds of kilometers, as well as crushing and stretching. surface structures of the earth’s crust.

A lithospheric drip occurs when two colliding and crushed lithospheric plates heat up to the point where they thicken, forming a long, heavy blob that seeps into the lower part of a planet’s mantle.

As the drop continues to seep down, its growing weight pulls on the crust at the top, forming a depression on the surface. After some time, the weight of the drop becomes too large for it to remain intact – its long “life line” breaks, and the crust above it rushes up hundreds of miles, forming mountains.

Researchers have long suspected that such subsurface stretching could have contributed to the formation of the Andes.


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