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Cosmic Drama Unveiled: How Precious Metals Travel from Space to Earth's Mantle

Researchers at Yale University and the Southwest Research Institute challenge conventional wisdom, revealing a new theory that explains the journey of precious metals like gold and platinum from deep space to Earth's mantle.

Updated on: Jan 06 2024, 15:52 IST
A groundbreaking study by scientists from Yale University and the Southwest Research Institute reveals the captivating journey of precious metals, challenging conventional wisdom and offering insights into the origins of celestial bodies across the universe. (representative image) (pixabay)

A recent breakthrough in Earth science sheds new light on the origins of precious metals like gold and platinum, challenging conventional wisdom. This groundbreaking research, conducted by scientists at Yale University and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports Interesting Engineering. Here's a summary of the findings:

Gold and platinum have long fascinated humanity due to their scarcity, beauty, and industrial significance.

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The study reveals a captivating story that traces the origins of these valuable materials from deep space to Earth's mantle.

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This research overturns the previous understanding that these precious metals arrived on Earth through violent collisions with massive celestial bodies.

Precious metals are highly attracted to iron, which should have led them to either merge with Earth's iron core or sink deep into the mantle, preventing their presence on the surface.

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Scientists proposed a groundbreaking theory that revolves around a "transient" region within Earth's mantle.

This transient region, with dynamic properties, efficiently traps falling metallic components, gradually delivering them to the rest of the mantle.

The ongoing process is linked to geophysical anomalies deep within the mantle, known as "large low-shear-velocity provinces."

This research has implications beyond the origins of gold and platinum, providing insights into the formation of celestial bodies across the universe.

The study highlights the remarkable time scales involved in Earth's formation, with the transient mantle region's influence spanning billions of years.

This discovery challenges conventional wisdom and reshapes our understanding of how precious metals ended up in Earth's mantle, thanks to the innovative work of Jun Korenaga from Yale University and Simone Marchi from SwRI.

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First Published Date: 06 Jan, 11:02 IST