They discover, 1.5 kilometers below the sea floor, a new type of rock with a chemical and mineral composition never seen before
Exploring the seabed 6 kilometers from the surface and 1.5 kilometers under the sea floor itself, a group of geologists has discovered a new type of basalt. One that is very different from any other on Earth and that seems to have not been produced more in millions of years.
The team of scientists and geologists from around the world discovered the rock in the Amami Sankaku Basin (ASB), in the ocean south of Japan. When the researchers descended into the deep sea 6 kilometers below the sea, andx they dug another mile and a half to extract samples.
What did you find? A new kind of basalt with a composition never seen before. It is a toleitic basalt, which is actually quite common and one of the most present magmatic rocks in the crust. Under the microscope, however, it is somewhat different, it shows a conglomeration of gray and greenish colors in totally abstract forms.
Basalt, although common due to volcanic activity, can be very different depending on the pressures and temperatures it is subjected to. So that, it can have the most varied characteristics. As this one in particular had never been found before and it is especially due to the place where it was: in the Pacific Ring of Fire.
According to geologists, this rock It was probably formed when the Pacific Ring of Fire was developing about 50 million years ago. Although it seems like a long time, in geological terms 50 million years is nothing. The magma that formed them came out from the upper mantle to the surface quickly and exposed to pressures between 0.7 and 2 GigaPascals.
Exploring the ground to understand the planet
We often look up and into space to understand our origin when in reality here on Earth we still have a lot to discover. As it says Dr. Ivan Savov, co-author of the study, “Our findings show that there are still many discoveries to be made on our own planet.”
With this discovery, the researchers believe that volcanic eruptions in this area were much stronger than previously thought. Now that they have found it, they hope to find more rocks and basalts in this area or even reanalyze some discovered here to better understand how the crust formed under the Pacific.
The seabed and even more so the earth’s crust are two areas that we have barely investigated. This is due to the difficulty of going down to the deep sea or simply piercing the Earth. While in space we have risen billions of kilometers, towards the depth of the Earth we have barely gone 12 kilometers.