Research NewsGeophysics

Deep-Sinking Slabs Stir the Mantle

Science  31 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5300, pp. 613-615
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5300.613

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SAN FRANCISCO—For eons, pieces of Earth's ocean floor have vanished like the lost continent of Atlantis, sinking below the surface as part of the plate-tectonic cycle. Now, seismic images reveal that these slabs plummet deep into the Earth; the new work may end a long-running debate by showing that the slabs mix the Earth's mantle from top to bottom.