The Earth’s core is leaking, and scientists can’t explain why

Though we rarely think about it, the Earth’s core and what takes place inside it have a direct impact on things that happen on the surface of our planet.

And yet, for decades it appears that part of the core has been leaking into what are known as mantle plumes, some of which eventually reach the surface and raise a much larger question that has baffled geologists: Do the mantle and core exchange any material?

A cross-section of the Earth, showing what’s deep inside the planet. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

But we may finally be getting some answers regarding what transpires deep within the Earth, thanks to a new study, according to Futurism:

“A team of scientists from the U.S., Canada, France, and Australia found that the ratio of tungsten and hafnium found in minerals from the core and mantle have shifted by 200 parts per million, according to research published last month in the journal Geochemical Perspective Letters last month.

“‘Our findings suggest some core material does transfer into the base of these mantle plumes, and the core has been leaking this material for the past 2.5 billion years,’ the researchers wrote.”

Why the Earth is leaking, however, remains a mystery, though there are theories regarding that, too.

Though it can’t be seen with the naked eye, deep inside the Earth is what can best be called a raging inferno. (Via YouTube Screenshot)

The most popular theory among geologists is that since mantle plumes are rising from the core-mantle boundary to the surface, it follows that material from Earth’s surface must also descend into the deep mantle. Think of it as a sort of deep Earth exchange program.

Additionally, the new research could also provide insight into exactly how Earth was formed and how the core of the planet has evolved over centuries.

It should also be noted that volcanic activity (which originates from the core) is the Earth’s primary means of cooling itself, again demonstrating the push-pull sort of dynamic that takes place deep inside our planet, the researchers explain:

“Volcanic activity is the planet’s main cooling mechanism. Certain volcanism, such as that which is still forming volcanic islands of Hawaii and Iceland, might be linked to the core by mantle plumes that transfer heat from the core to Earth’s surface.”

Despite these new findings, endless questions remain about what takes place deep inside the Earth. And those debates will no doubt continue for decades to come.

Learn more about the Earth’s leaking core with this video:

Featured Image Via YouTube Screenshot

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