Scientists have published a study in the journal Nature that examines the origin of deposits buried more than a thousand miles below the Earth’s surface in the mantle region. They believe that it may be the remains of the protoplanet Theia, which crashed into the Earth more than 4.5 billion years ago, thanks to which the Moon was later formed. Scientists tried to support the theory about the origin of the Moon by researching deposits.
The collision of the two planets likely caused a significant portion of them to melt, and the larger Earth then integrated the remnants of the protoplanet into itself, creating a new and bulkier planet, the Guardian reported.
However, most of the smaller planet flew into space around Earth, where the particles gradually began to clump together to form the Moon.
The deposits are located deep under Africa and the Pacific Ocean. Their exact name is large low-velocity provinces, or LLVPs. Their presence was first noticed by seismologists, but their origin was a mystery for a long time.
The research team had a significant international presence. It included, for example, scientists from the United States or China.
During the research, they used advanced computer simulations, according to which they tried to determine the sequence of events as accurately as possible. According to them, the collision and subsequent melting of the Earth’s mantle allowed about 10% of the protoplanet’s volume to get close to the Earth’s core.
It is possible that rock from the protoplanet may have initially been moved by magma flow in the mantle until the deposits were formed. Scientists believe they are slightly denser than the rest of the Earth’s mantle.
To confirm the hypothesis that these are the remains of an extinct protoplanet, according to scientists, it is necessary to analyze a large number of samples of lunar rock to compare them with samples of deposits.
Most of the scientific community welcomes the findings of the research. However, according to some, it is necessary to focus on researching the processes that led to the preservation of the similarities between the Earth and the Moon and the unique composition of the Earth’s mantle.