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24 November 2015

More about the Mariana Hydrothermal Hunt

This is the latest in a series of dispatches from scientists and education officers aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor. This November, scientists aboard the research vessel Falkor will aim to shed light on the Mariana Back-arc, which is expected to be teeming with activity and life. Over the course of their 27 day mission at sea they will explore the back-arc spreading center to find new sites of hydrothermal activity and to better understand the physical, chemical, and geological forces that shape biodiversity in these unique ecosystems. Read more posts here, and track the Falkor’s progress here.

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17 November 2015

Rotation an important factor in Earth’s evolution

Around 4.5 billion years ago, shortly after the solar system was formed, an object roughly the size of Mars smashed into Earth. The energy of this impact sheared off enough material to create the Moon and melt the young Earth’s mantle into a giant ocean of magma roughly 1,000 kilometers (approximately 621 miles) deep. This magma ocean set the stage for the evolution of the Earth’s rocky mantle and could have created Earth’s early magnetic field which shielded the planet from the solar wind and facilitated the evolution of life on Earth.

Now, a new study proposes that Earth’s rotation – previously assumed to be unimportant in the evolution of the magma ocean – could have influenced how the hot liquid rock solidified.

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