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Thread: “Wound” in Seafloor

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    “Wound” in Seafloor

    Scientists plan to set sail next week to investigate a startling finding in the depths of the Atlantic: a large area, thousands of square kilometres wide, in the middle of the ocean where the Earth’s crust seems to be missing.

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    Question "Wound" in Sea Floor.

    This will give geologists a wonderful opportunity to obtain a sample of the upper mantle without having to drill through the oceanic crust. The behaviour of seismic waves has given us much information about the physical properties of the upper mantle, but none, except by inference, about its chemical and mineralogical composition.

    The "Project Mohole" operation, which started in 1957 and fizzled out in the mid-1960's, amidst much rancour and bickering among the groups supposedly cooperating in conducting it, was intended to drill an hole through the oceanic crust to the Mohorovicic Discontinuity, the presumed boundary between the oceanic crust and upper mantle.

    Drilling from the oceanic surface at such a great depth proved unfeasible. It has been likened to drilling a hole in the sidewalk from the roof of a 4-story building with a nail on the end of a long cooked noodle. This "wound" in the sea floor provides us with a natural "Mohole".

    Sampling the material exposed there will answer many questions which have been the subject of decades of speculation, such as : just what is the Mohorovicic Discontinuity ? There is a sudden change in velocity of seismic waves at a depth of about 100 km under the ocean floor and much deeper and more variable under the continents. Supposedly it represents a change of material, but from what to what ?

    Is the Mohorovicic Discontinuity a change in crystal structure of the minerals present, or is there a change in composition ? Is there any slippage between the crust and mantle at the Mohorovicic Discontinuity, or do they move together as parts of the rigid lithosphere ? [Other questions, dealing with magmatic differentiation, are too technical to deal with in this post.]

    The shape of the "wound" suggests to me the possibility that it is an impact crater. If so, the supposed upper mantle material exposed there may well be contaminated by extra-terrestrial material . Drillings into the exposed rocks might answer this question.

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