Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New technique reveals Earth's internal heat

From MIT via Science Daily...
A 'seismothermometer' of the Earth's temperature at extreme depths.

"High-resolution images that reveal unexpected details of the Earth's internal structure are among the results reported by MIT and Purdue scientists in the March 30 issue of Science....

The technique—akin to medical imaging such as ultrasounds and CAT scans—led to detailed new images of the boundary between the Earth's core and mantle. These images, in turn, help researchers better understand how and where the Earth's internal heat is produced and how it is transported to the surface. They also provide insight into the Earth's giant heat engine--a constant cycle of heat production, heat transfer and cooling.

Years of work by Ping Wang, EAPS graduate student at MIT, led to the possibility for high-resolution imaging, and in collaboration with EAPS mineral physicist Dan Shim, the team produced maps of temperature and heat flow some 3,000 kilometers below the Earth's surface, using the data to provide a kind of "seismothermometer" of the Earth's temperature at extreme depths...."

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