Heat Prone


The earth's crust heats up faster than was known. Researchers used laser-based techniques to determine how long rocks take to conduct heat. The conductivity decreased with increasing temperatures. In other words, the rocks heated up fast and stayed hot longer. The findings were applied to models simulating tectonic plate movement during mountain belt formations and continental collisions. These events produced heat that triggered the melting of the crust. Earlier it was believed that only molten magma from the earth's mantle could cause melting of the crust but during continental collisions there is no inflow of magma. Published in the March 19 issue of Nature, the study will help scientists figure out the processes that occur during mountain formations and continental collisions.


Down To Earth, May 2009