Deep-Earth Area of Melting Carbon Discovered

IAS Prelims 2023

Scientists have used the world’s largest array of seismic sensors to map a deep-Earth area of melting carbon covering 1.8 million square kilometres.

Situated under the Western US, 350km beneath Earth’s surface, the discovered melting region challenges accepted understanding of how much carbon Earth contains — much more than previously understood.

The study was conducted by geologist at Royal Holloway. He used a huge network of 583 seismic sensors that measure Earth’s vibrations, to create a picture of the area’s deep sub surface.

Known as the upper mantle, this section of Earth’s interior is recognised by its high temperatures where solid carbonates melt, creating very particular seismic patterns.

As a result of this study, scientists now understand the amount of CO2 in Earth’s upper mantle may be up to 100 trillion metric tons.