By Madhavi Pothukuchi
31 October, 2022
The Earth is divided into three layers – the crust, the mantle and the core. The mantle, which makes up 55% of the Earth’s volume, is further divided into two parts: the upper and lower mantle.
Scientists have debated and experimented to find what the Earth's mantle contains for years. However, its scientific composition was never fully discovered.
Recently, scientists from Arizona State University have unearthed a new mineral that constitutes the lower mantle.
The mantle is made up of three minerals – bridgmanite, ferropericlase and davemaoite.
In theory, bridgmanite and davemaoite have similar crystalline structures and should merge into one mineral under very high temperatures. However, they didn't, which has puzzled scientists for decades.
Scientists conducted a series of experiments that showed when the two minerals are subjected to temperatures close to 2000 degrees Celsius, a single unknown prevoskite mineral is formed.
This means that the lower mantle is hotter than the upper mantle, with different mineral compositions. And since the Earth was hotter millions of years ago, its composition may have changed over time.
Scientists are still analysing the new mineral and its implications. The discovery opens the door to further exploration into the Earth and its composition.