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34 votes
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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 ...
David Hammen's user avatar
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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 ...
jamesqf's user avatar
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23 votes
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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 ...
Antonio's user avatar
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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 ...
Josh King's user avatar
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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, ...
semi-extrinsic's user avatar
14 votes
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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. ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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11 votes
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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 ...
Fred's user avatar
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8 votes
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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, ...
David Hammen's user avatar
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8 votes
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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 ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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8 votes
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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 ...
John's user avatar
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7 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 ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar
7 votes
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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 ...
verisimilidude's user avatar
6 votes
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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 ...
John's user avatar
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6 votes
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Composition of Martian Crust

The most abundant elements on Earth are: ...
Earth Science Expatriate's user avatar
6 votes
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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 ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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6 votes
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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 ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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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 ...
G. Gip's user avatar
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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 ...
Sherwood Botsford's user avatar
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 ...
Haule's user avatar
  • 39
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 ...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
  • 4,011
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:...
Gimelist's user avatar
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4 votes
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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 ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 1,261
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 ...
Danyal's user avatar
  • 183
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 ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 4,550
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 ...
David Hammen's user avatar
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4 votes
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Why does the Earth's crust have more aluminum than magnesium while the Sun has more magnesium than aluminum?

On the earth as a whole, there is much more magnesium than aluminium. Your question is why, specifically in the crust, there is more aluminium than magnesium. The reason is that Mg is a compatible ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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4 votes
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Why should there not be water deep (e.g. below 6 kms) in the Earth's crust?

There are two reasons for this surprising finding: Compaction. Once you have high pressures at depth, the less dense material goes up. Take a bucket of water, put sand in it, and squeeze the sand ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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4 votes
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Why is there gold in the earth's crust?

Is it that "almost nothing" is not nothing? It's obviously "almost nothing" because there still is gold in the Earth's crust. That said, while gold is 20 times more abundant in ...
David Hammen's user avatar
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