Hidden magma layer: Scientists discover 'lubricant' for Earth's tectonic plates

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 13:00 in Earth & Climate

(Phys.org) —Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have found a layer of liquefied molten rock in Earth's mantle that may be acting as a lubricant for the sliding motions of the planet's massive tectonic plates. The discovery may carry far-reaching implications, from solving basic geological functions of the planet to a better understanding of volcanism and earthquakes.

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