Journey Not Quite to the Center of the Earth

Take a trip with me, the Blogfish, in my ship the Unobtainium Falcon to find out a little about what scientists know about the inside of the Earth.

Right now, the JOIDES Resolution is drilling into a seamount because the scientists onboard are trying to learn more about what the inside of the earth is like. The seamounts are old, extinct volcanoes. The lava that made the seamounts came from deep within the Earth (the lava was called magma when it was down there). By studying the lava rocks, the scientists can learn things about what is inside the Earth.

Scientists wish they could actually travel inside the Earth, but so far it is not possible. For example, if they tried to take a bus down to the center of the Earth, it is so hot (the center of the Earth is about 9,900 degrees Fahrenheit, almost as hot as the surface of the Sun!) and has so much pressure from all the rocks and other stuff above pushing down, it would not take long for the bus to be both crushed and melted. Plus, most buses cannot drive through rock.

To make it to the inside of the Earth, scientists would need a magic vessel. Luckily, I have one.

This is me and my vessel the Unobtainium Falcon on the helideck of the JR. The Unobtainium Falcon is made of the magical material unobtainium. Unobtainium not only can withstand incredible heat and pressure, it also has the amazing ability to not cast a shadow.

Before we board the Unobtainium Falcon for our journey into the Earth, we should find out first what scientists already know is down there. One thing scientists have figured out is some of the chemistry of the inside of the Earth. Chemistry is basically the main ingredients of a substance, but instead of being ingredients like oregano or high fructose corn syrup, the ingredients are materials like silica and iron. Scientists have noticed the Earth has three layers with different chemistries. They have named the layers the crust, mantle and core. You can see where the layers are and the main ingredients (the chemistry) of each layer in the diagram below.

Since one of the reasons we are taking our journey into the Earth is to understand how the Louisville seamounts were formed, we actually need to look at a different layering system scientists use to understand the inside of the Earth. This system looks at the physical properties of the layers (check out my last blog about Patrick, one of our Physical Properties Specialists, if you are not sure what physical properties are).

Since this blog is really long already, we will have to wait until next time to find out about that and go on our journey. See you then!


The Blogfish