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What We Read Today 25 March 2015

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Earth Has A Layer No One Knew About (Mary Beth Griggs, Popular Science)  Scientists have found a specific layer in the middle of the mantle which is mechanically distinct from the other regions of the mantle above it and below it (closer to the core).  This layer is chemically very similar to the rest of the mantle but they found "the strength in the rocks had increased by an insane amount--it was nearly 300 times stronger than that same type of rock would be at levels higher in the mantle".  This mechanical barrier explains why subducted tectonic plates "stall out for a while, caught between a rock and a stiff place".  The stall is temporary and the surface material eventually transverses the "stff layer" and then continues sinking toward the core.



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