Earth is constantly changing. It may seem to us that everything always stays the same on the surface, but several miles below, the active geology of our planet continues to function, slowly changing the shape of the world around us.
Scientists strive daily to understand and study the composition of the inner part of the planey. It is a very complicated job due to the depth, temperatures, and technological limitations to reach the center of the Earth. So, a place where you can see the Earth’s mantle on the surface is basically a miracle for the experts.
That’s why it was such a gift to find a scientifical paradise in the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland. Fractions of the Earth’s mantle have risen to the surface and are now exposed for studies.
Researchers have been able to identify that this part of Earth’s mantle and the pieces of crust found in the surrounding areas belonged to the seafloor of an ocean that existed millions of years ago.
This geological site was discovered almost a century ago, but throughout that time scientists debated the origin of this phenomenon and its special characteristics.
George Guice, a mineralogist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, along with other researchers finally decided to try and clarify the mystery of these rocks.
His chemical studies on the soft rocks found showed that they belonged to the bottom of the Iapetus Ocean that existed on what is now the United States east coast about 500 million years ago.
With these discoveries, scientists will be able to travel back in time and study part of what our planet was like half a billion years ago, and it will give them insights into the movement of tectonic plates throughout history.
The most important thing is that this is proof that the internal movement of the Earth does not stop and continues at this very moment just below our feet.
“It will happen to the Atlantic as it did to the Iapetus. It’s this long-term dance of the continental fragments, which remain at the Earth’s surface,” says study co-author Daniel Viete, a geologist who specializes in tectonic processes at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
The long journey and transformation of our planet is just beginning, and we just are happy to be part of it and to have the ability to study and admire it.