News of the WeekTECTONICS

A Deep Look Beneath Tall Mountains

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Science  02 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5411, pp. 24
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5411.24a

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A team of mineralogists has new evidence that a large chunk of rock high in the Alps may have originated hundreds of kilometers underground. An analysis of the rock's mineral composition, which they describe on page 128, suggests that the rock rode to its current position on a geologic elevator from at least 250 kilometers down. Confirmation that such deep minerals can rise to the surface, presumably during the upheavals sparked by colliding tectonic plates, would open up a new window on the mantle and how it participates in surface geology.