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Science PopWrapped | Science

Expedition To Drill Earth's Mantle Ends

Kristina Atienza | PopWrapped Author

Kristina Atienza

02/08/2016 12:58 pm
PopWrapped | Science
Expedition To Drill Earth's Mantle Ends | expedition
Media Courtesy of JOIDES

The year may be 2016, but there are still many mysteries left to be solved about the planet we live on. Some of these questions might be answered with the completion of a recent research expedition attempt to reach  the Earth's mantle.

JOIDES, which stands for the the Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling, Expedition 360 has just recently concluded their recent attempt to drill to the Earth's mantle. The expedition known as the South Indian Ridge Moho ended after two months and successfully drilling 700 meters into the Atlantic Bank gabbroic massif. Researchers assume that at this particular location of the Earth's crust, the mantle rises above the Moho border, which is where the crust and mantle meet.

The crew had intended to drill a total of 1,500 meters to collect gabbros, which form when the slow-cooling magma gets trapped under the Earth's surface as well as samples of the crust-mantle transition. The expedition attempt to reach the mantle had the potential to help scientists have more data to better our current understanding of magma, the mantle, melt and crust.

Although the crew did not reach their intended depth goal, they successfully gathered enough materials that were "amazing for hard rock drilling."

The JOIDES crew is no stranger to ocean floor exploration to help solve the mysteries of the planet we live on. JOIDES regularly explores the ocean's depths to collect samples from underneath the ocean floor to better understand how the Earth has developed over time.

This was not the first attempt by humanity to take on the seemingly science fiction idea of drilling to the center of the Earth. The 1960s was the latest attempt to reach the mantle before the JOIDES crew's expedition.  "Project Mohole" was the 1960s attempt to drill off the coast of Guadalupe, Mexico. The previous attempt was halted by management issues and budget cuts and had not seen any progress with reaching the mantle until JOIDES.

The hope to reach the mantle is not over just yet. Supposedly there are already plans another mission to try to reach the mantle within five years.

If this group of researchers does successfully reach the Earth's mantle, the data found would benefit science greatly. Reaching this part of the Earth and possibly obtaining a completely undisturbed sample of the mantle could provide insight on the early composition of the Earth.


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