The Earth has been diagnosed with having a weird geological condition by scientists. This ‘disease’ our planet is going through is called ‘stagnant slabs’ which basically means that the tectonic plates which subdue into the incredibly hot mantle became stuck hundreds of miles below Earth’s surface due to a mysterious reason.
Researchers from the University of Colorado took on the challenge of finding why exactly this is happening and they believe to have discovered that the reason might be a glitch occurring in our planet’s internal mechanism. By simulating the seismic activity happening under the Pacific Ocean, scientists managed to find that the slabs of tectonic plates may have become temporarily stuck due to an obstacle in Earth’s mantle who keeps them from falling seamlessly through the thin and ‘weak’ layer of material.
This hypothesis was launched by Weo Mao and Shijie Zhong, a duo of researchers who published a study in the Nature journal. This presence of stagnant slabs has been bothering geologists for quite some time and according to the latest study in the matter, there is a horizontal motion of ‘sliding’ which characterizes subducted plates below the Pacific observed between the upper and lower mantle boundaries.
Zhong said that “although we see these slabs stagnate, they are fairly recent phenomena, probably happening in the last 20 million years. The slabs get deflected and can keep going for a long distance horizontally”. You mustn’t become greatly concerned because of the existence of tectonic plates moving slower than they usually do.
Indeed, it will have something of an impact on the studies performed on volcanoes, earthquakes or other such seismic activities which are related to our planet’s tectonic design. This is yet another weird thing found inside Earth’s ‘engine’.
Andrea Potvin graduated from Florida A&M University in 2016. Andrea is a Florida transplant, having grown up in Alaska. After graduating school, it didn’t take her long to decide she wanted to stay in the lower 48. Andrea has written for several major publications including Buzz Feed and the Huffington Post. Andrea is our community reporter and also covers world events.