Aug 22, 2017
Earth's continental plates reach at least 80 miles below the surface
A new study published in Science has found continental plates reach 80-120 miles below the Earth's surface. As the Atlantic noted, that means "you're closer to the edge of space right now than you are to the bottom of a continental plate."
- How they did it: By analyzing seismological data from Earth's continents, which the authors said "lines up well with the depth where diamonds are stable —an independent line of evidence for the depth of continents."
- Why it matters: This information can help scientists understand how the plates move, and more precisely map out the composition of Earth's layers.
- One remaining question: Whether the depth is a permanent feature of Earth or has changed over time.