There may be nothing new under the sun, but scientists have discovered something new under the ocean: a previously unknown type of basalt. Basalt is a common volcanic rock, but the researchers took samples taken from the depths somewhat differently.
A team of researchers would drill into the Pacific floor at a depth of 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) in a location southwest of Japan. They took samples from nearly a mile (1.5 kilometers) into the floor and found basalt with a specific chemical and mineral composition.
“The rocks we got back are completely different from rocks of this type that we are already familiar with. In fact, they could be as different as the seabed basalts that are Earth ‘s basalts to the moon’ s basalts, “researcher Ivan Savov said in a Leeds University statement on Monday. Savov is a co-author of a study of basalt published in the journal Nature Communications.
The recently discovered type of basalt comes from the young age of the Circle of Fire, an area along the Pacific Ocean known for active volcanoes and earthquakes. There are many famous volcanoes, including Krakatoa and Mount St. Helens, part of the ring. Scientists suspect that the volcano belt first came to life at least 50 million years ago.
“This finding suggests that ocean floor explosions found in the Earth’s crust were even hotter and more intense than previously thought,” Leeds said.
The basalt had been hidden under layers of marine sediment and required an ambitious research vessel, the Joides Resolution and its special drill string, to reach the samples.
The basalt could lead scientists to a new understanding of rock formation and the amazing volcanic history of the ocean floor.
The Circle of Fire is still a hot spot for Earth’s volcanoes and it is evenfrom underwater explosions.
Savov said, “At a time when we are right to look at discoveries made through space exploration, our findings show that there are still many discoveries to be made on our own planet. . “