It often said that we know more about the surface of the moon and even Mars than the depths of the Earth’s oceans. This does not seem to true of the gases and craters we have missed without a detailed survey of large parts of the ocean floor, but it also applies to the composition of the rocks above the ocean.
Never before has there been basalt whose chemistry points to explosions that were larger and warmer any geologist, evidence of the energy that the planet can carry. The JOIDES Resolution research ship is slowly addressing the sea-sized gaps of our knowledge, including drilling in the “Ring of Fire” part of the volcano south of the Amami Sankakus Basin (ASB) in southern Japan. Six kilometers (3.6 miles) below the surface, the resolution drilled 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) into more rocks.
Dr Ivan Savov of the University Leeds, UK, said in a statement, “It was one of the deepest waters to be considered for drilling, especially using a research vessel designed for such a challenging deep-sea environment.” The effort rewarded. Basalt is one of the most common rocks on Earth, and indeed other rocks are present along with volcanic eruptions on Earth, including the Moon and Mars. Nevertheless, it has different forms depending on the ingredients it composes and the temperature at which they molded.
“The rocks we’ve recovered are very different from these types of rocks,” Savov said. About 49 million years before the sub-division event began, a massive explosion called a new type of basalt occurred after the Pacific plate began to sink beneath the Mariana Plate. It covered a region the size of Western Europe but the whole phenomenon lasted 1-2 million years – shortened by geological standards.
Basalts produced at these national sites differ from those produced on the shores of the Mediterranean and on islands such as Hawaii. ASB basalts contain less titanium and potassium than other basalts and are produce from the upper mantle at a higher temperature than what we have seen in the recent past.
This explains why we have not observed this type of basalt before, despite the fact that it covers an enormous area of sea level since the upper part of sediments of more than one kilometer has accumulated. “Now that we know where and how this rock type was formed, we assumed that we know that many more rocks were originally eroded which would be re-examined and potentially change our greater understanding of basalt formation,” Savov said.
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