According to newest reports, half of the original Indian and Eurasian mass is missing. This has upended how geologists thought tectonic interactions worked.
According to newest research, half of the Eurasian and Indian mass is missing and scientists and experts put the blame on Earth’s mantle, which is believed to may have swallowed up the half.
If this is true, than it would be of a huge surprise since it would change the way geoscientists have thought about continental crust. In other words, it would open up the possibility of landmasses being able to dive down into the pliable middle layer of our planet.
According to a study researcher David Worley who is a geoscientists at the University of Chicago, scientists used to think that the crust and the mantle could interact in a minor way, but this recent event states the exact opposite of that.
This mystery involving the missing crust emerged when Rowley and his colleagues examined the collision of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates in slow motion. The two plates are known to be bumping against each other for 60 million years, resulting in the formation of the Himalayan Mountains. Then, multiple data sources were combined to figure out the original size of the two continental plates before they first collided.
According to the new calculations which were published on the internet on 19th of September 2016 in the “Nature Geoscience” journal, a strange imbalance was revealed. Aside from the excess bits of crust that piled up to form the Himalayas, and excess land squeezed out of the sides formed Southeast Asia, scientists still couldn’t figure out where half of the original Indian and Eurasian mass went. This has been considered as one of the Earth’s 8 biggest mysteries.
This eventually led to an unprecedented conclusion.
According to research Miquela Ingalls who is a graduate student in geophysical sciences at the Chicago University, the remaining excess mass must have been recycled wholesale into the mantle since it had nowhere to go.
Others claim that continental crust isn’t capable and shouldn’t be able to sink in that way meaning that it couldn’t have recycled into the mantle.
Nonetheless, this new research may cause scientists and other researchers to re-evaluate the interaction and the way it works. This study has the potential of explaining some of the biggest geochemical mysteries like why volcanic eruptions spit out elements like uranium and lead, that aren’t common in the earth’s mantle but common in continental crust. If the collision of India-Eurasia is representative, it might eventually explain how the continental materials get recycled into the mantle and erupt again.
According to him, if the collision system of India-Asia is seen as an ongoing process throughout Earth’s history, you would be able to notice a continuous mixing of continental crust elements back into the mantle.