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31 votes
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Can we really travel through earth's core?

As Chris Mueller said, in short: it isn't, or at least highly infeasible. Projects to drill into the mantle, such as the Kola Superdeep Borehole, have all failed because drilling equipment can't ...
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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
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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 ...
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20 votes

Can we really travel through earth's core?

Short answer: No. Long answer: Our deepest drills failed around 12km down when the drill bits were having to cope with temperatures hot enough to melt the drills. 12km down is only a tiny distance ...
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  • 838
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 ...
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14 votes
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At what point does plate tectonics stop?

One permanent threat to plate tectonics is the oceans vanishing. The scientific jury may still be out on this matter, but most geologists and geophysicists consider water to be the lubricant that ...
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13 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. ...
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12 votes

Can we really travel through earth's core?

There is one vaguely plausible method that has been proposed: blow open a crack in the Earth's crust using a hydrogen bomb and then fill the crack with molten iron. The iron then sinks to the core, ...
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  • 1,583
11 votes

How is heat transferred from the core through the mantle to the crust?

It is still a little known fact that radiation play an important role in the Earth's mantle. Experiments show that mantle-material becomes transparent to infrared radiation at increasing pressures (...
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  • 3,876
10 votes
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Are mantle plumes distributed around the core randomly or in a known pattern?

First of all, the idea of a fixed "hotspot" reference frame is (albeit reluctantly) falling out of favour on a geological timescale; see e.g. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/GM121p0339/...
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9 votes
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How can we have "floating" and convection currents in a non-liquid mantle?

Is the mantle solid? It's all a matter of timescales. The mantle is undoubtedly solid (except locally in the uppermost regions where melting can occur) but on a long enough timescale it can display ...
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9 votes
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What's the difference between the upper & lower mantle?

The boundary between the upper and lower mantle is today believed to be due to the phase change because of increasing pressure of: $$\text{Ringwoodite} \xrightarrow{\text{660 km, about 24.5 GPa}} \...
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9 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 ...
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7 votes

Can volcanos cause isostatic depression

Absolutely. Lithospheric flexure due to volcanic edifice emplacement is well-documented. Not only do you get isostatic depression near the volcano, but further afield you actually can have uplift due ...
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  • 2,563
7 votes
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Can volcanos cause isostatic depression

Yes, they can. Hawaiian Trough is a good example. The impact on thin oceanic crust is naturally larger/faster than on stiff continental crust. Generally the lithosphere will always respond to load, ...
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  • 5,896
7 votes

Magma resultant from group 1 and group 2 elements?

So let's break it down part by part: He sets forth that magma is not actually created from heat / pressure buildup, etc. There is not a single mechanism for magma formation in the Earth. Magma can ...
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  • 22.2k
7 votes

Can the crust be compared to an arch?

An arch is a poor analogy for tectonic plates. The lithosphere is supported beneath by the mantle, unlike an arch which is unsupported beneath. If the lithospheric plates were only held together ...
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7 votes

Are all natural diamonds made of organic carbon material?

Diamond isn't made of organic C at all. Organic matter would rather become oil, gas, coal or dissolve entirely. C itself isn't very common in earth's mantle, but subducted eclogites and peridotites ...
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6 votes

How can we have "floating" and convection currents in a non-liquid mantle?

Humans have difficulty visualizing how rocks flow because the required conditions are outside our everyday experience. We are familiar with surface temperatures and pressures, and geologically short ...
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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 ...
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6 votes

What is the earth's core temperature?

The inner core of the Earth is a large sphere of nickel-iron alloy. Surrounding this is the molten inner core which has a temperature of approximately 5400 ℃. The source of heat that keeps the Earth'...
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6 votes

Is Mars' mantle homogeneous or heterogeneous and what might this say about mantle convection?

The mantle of Mars is heterogeneous. While there are many things that are unknown about the Martian mantle and the entire internal structure of Mars, this is not one of them. The source of this ...
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6 votes
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How straight is the Kola superdeep borehole?

Borehole drifted from straight vertical by ~840 meters over 12,000 meters. All drill-bore wander side to side some and Kola borehole did not drift much until depth exceeded 5000 meters. See page ...
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  • 5,861
6 votes

Do we know what the rigid mantle looks like?

Above the asthenosphere is the lithosphere. The main constituent of the lower lithosphere is peridotite, a coarse-grained igneous rock containing the minerals olivine and pyroxene. Samples of ...
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  • 288
6 votes

Why is the concentration of highly siderophile elements so uniform in the mantle?

First, note that this plot is normalized to a reference, here the composition of CI chondrites (your version lacks the Y axis label, it's figure 2.1 from Walker 2016). So if the concentration of ...
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5 votes

Are all natural diamonds made of organic carbon material?

Not so fast, we can't say that 'no diamond is made of organic carbon'. There are two types of diamond, based upon the relative abundance of $^{12}C$ and $^{13}C$ isotopes. The 'lighter' carbon (...
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5 votes

How viscous is the Earth's mantle?

The viscosity of the mantle varies largely with depth (because depth primarily controls temperature, pressure, and composition), but from the details of your question you seem particularly interested ...
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  • 1,663
5 votes

How viscous is the Earth's mantle?

The mantle viscosity is likely to be non-linear, e.g., it could be as low as $10^{18} \textrm{Pa}\cdot\rm s$ (over shorter time scales) or as high as $10^{21} \textrm{Pa}\cdot\rm s$ (over longer time ...
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