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34 votes
Accepted

Do fossil fuels insulate the crust from the Earth's interior?

Quoting from John Russell's response to this article, "This is arrant nonsense!" Russell concludes with How did this paper get through the peer-review and editorial review processes? What ...
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31 votes

What is the deepest we have ever gone into the Earth?

Probably a bit over 4 km, in this South African mine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mponeng_Gold_Mine But as the link mentions, the mine operators go to considerable lengths to reduce the mine ...
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23 votes
Accepted

What do continents "lay" on?

Matan, the continents where we all live "float" on the Earth's mantle. The continents are made out of relatively brittle rock called the "Crust" and the mantle is made out of much more ductile ...
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19 votes

What is the deepest we have ever gone into the Earth?

Since you termed it based on sea level, the gold mines in South Africa are not the deepest, they begin at an elevation of ~1500 m, meaning their 4 km depth is only 2.5 km below sea level. The Kidd ...
  • 291
15 votes

Do fossil fuels insulate the crust from the Earth's interior?

What neither the authors nor the response by John Russell takes into account is that all underground oil and gas is stored inside tiny pores of rocks. An oil reservoir is not a big underground cave, ...
13 votes
Accepted

If people aim to reach the mantle, why don't they just use volcano craters?

why don't they just use volcano craters? Because volcano craters don't go to the mantle. Here's a sketch of how the crust, mantle, and volcanoes look like: Tan colour is crust, orange is mantle. ...
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9 votes
Accepted

What's the official reason why it became so hot in the Kola borehole?

Unfortunately, you intuition about subterranean ground temperatures is incorrect. Basements and cellars do provide cooler conditions to store perishable items because the near surface rock insulates ...
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8 votes
Accepted

What if we detonated the entire worlds nuclear supply in the center of the earth?

I'll ignore the complete impossibility of getting the world's nuclear arsenal to the center of the Earth and the impossibility of exploding them all at once. The total number of nuclear weapons, ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Do tectonic plates "float" over the mantle and "collide" like icebergs?

you are missing a big factor, the plates are not moving due to the momentum of an initial impulse. They are being actively moved by the push and pull of mantle convection. Much like how icebergs are ...
  • 6,556
7 votes
Accepted

Why is Great Oxidation Event associated with Iron oxidation but not Aluminum or Silicon?

Because Al and Si were already oxidised to begin with. When the Earth formed, it had some amount of metals (Fe, Si, Mg, Al, Ca, etc) and a fixed amount of oxygen to bond with those metals. Certain ...
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7 votes

Why is there so much more silicon than carbon in the Earth's crust?

So where did it go? Carbon was never there (or here) to begin with. You need to look at this from the opposite way. By asking "where did it go" you assuming the Earth was here first, with carbon, and ...
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7 votes
Accepted

What was the Earth's continent's positions 10000 years ago, or 11700 years ago, AKA when the late Pleistocene epoch was coming to an end?

The reason that you have not seen any diagram showing the position of the continents 10K years before present (ybp) is that the plates move so slowly that there would not be a perceptual difference on ...
6 votes
Accepted

Composition of Martian Crust

The most abundant elements on Earth are: ...
6 votes

Why is continental crust less dense than oceanic?

Thickness has nothing to do with density. The density is how much a given volume weighs. If a block of 1m × 1m × 1m weighs 60kg, and another block the same size weighs 100kg, then the second block is ...
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6 votes

How is abundance of elements in the Earth's crust estimated?

can he also say how accurate this estimations are? Let's begin by saying that the crust is heterogeneous. There is no one "composition of the crust". If you go to a place rich with ...
  • 22.3k
6 votes

How is dense magma able to rise and punch through continental crust?

Your intuition is quite correct: Other factors being equall, a dense magma will not rise through lighter rocks. The exception is if it is under pressure, in which case a fluid magma will escape ...
6 votes
Accepted

Why is uranium only in the crust, really?

(tl;dr below) First, a correction. Siderophile elements are "iron-loving" elements, those that go in the core with the Fe-Ni liquid. Uranium is lithophile, or "rock-loving". It partitions to silicate ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Why does Earth have two kinds of crusts?

First they do get slowly mixed at the plate boundaries but the mixing is minimal compared to the amount of crust there is. They do not mix easily since they have different densities, they tend to ...
  • 6,556
5 votes
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What is difference between divergent boundary and hot spot?

Divergent boundaries occur at the boundary between plates. A divergent boundary is where two tectonic plates are actively being pushed apart. Divergent boundaries create rift valleys on land and ...
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5 votes
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If the Sun disappeared, how long would it take for the Earth to freeze beyond excavatable depths?

Step wise approach: Right now when the surface is very cold, the frost depth here (Alberta, -40 min winter temps) can reach 8 feet. Below about 30 feet seasonal temperature changes are under a ...
4 votes

What do continents "lay" on?

There is no ocean of magma, magma only forms below when rocks have been melted due to various causes like flux melting and heat decompression, the only part of the earth that is liquid is the outer ...
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4 votes
Accepted

What would be the correct terminology for soft cover on crust?

what is the correct term for the complete soft-layer on Earth? Sediments. Is there any term for part-of skin-of-Earth which is beneath water? Marine sediments. The soft cover is probably not ...
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4 votes

Which one is the correct concept of Continental Crust and Oceanic Crust?

Michael is correct. SIAL and SIMA are very vague and over-simplified summaries of the continental and oceanic crustal compositions. These terms may be OK for school introductions to geology, but you ...
4 votes

Composition of Martian Crust

Although the Martian crust has a similar set of the most-abundant elements as Earth's -- for instance, on both planets oxygen is #1 and silicon #2 -- there are some differences. Compared with Earth's ...
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4 votes
Accepted

Why is lithium so unevenly distributed?

The term "reserves" doesn't mean what most people think it does. A mineral deposit is simply a concentration of a mineral; a reserve is a deposit that is both known and economical to extract. As an ...
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4 votes

Why is lithium so unevenly distributed?

Start by reading my answer on a different website: https://chemistry.stackexchange.com/a/96630/8083 This is a quick explainer on what "reserves" actually are. Lithium is mined from two main sources:...
  • 22.3k
4 votes

Why did sinkholes emerge in Pakistan?

I was about to ask a question whether this should be classified as a sinkhole or not. This is because this so-called 'sinkhole' is not entirely because of a natural process. It seems that it was the ...
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4 votes

Is salt accumulating over time?

There is a limit to how much of a given salt can be dissolved into water, this is known as it's solubility and it's dynamic based upon how much of any particular ion is already present. Once ...
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4 votes

Do there exist reasonable numbers on the density/radius/mass of the various geological layers of the Earth?

One model that will help you is the admittedly dated (1981) Preliminary Reference Earth Model. It provides density models for the inner and outer core as functions of distance from the center of the ...
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