Tiny Tracers Tell Tall Tales

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Science  17 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5571, pp. 1247-1248
DOI: 10.1126/science.1070399

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Did Earth's mantle evolve as a chemically layered system, or has it always convected as a whole? In his Perspective, Ballentine argues that noble gases trapped in the silicate mantle may hold the key to resolving this question. Volatile-rich regions still exist in today's mantle, and knowledge of where and how the volatile-rich material in the mantle is preserved will be a crucial constraint in the formulation of future mantle models.

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