Research from the US has identified an unusual belt of magma rock, stretching more than 2,000 miles, where the Earth’s crust melted without volcanoes.
According to Sci-tech Daily, the mysterious melted crust region is the northwestern part of the Americas, on a vast stretch of land stretching from British Columbia in Canada to the Sorona of Mexico. This molten Magma belt runs through many states of the United States such as Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Southeast California and Arizona.
Associate Professor Jay Chapman from the Department of Geology and Geophysics of the University of Wyoming (UW – USA), who led the study, said that often long igneous belts must be linked with volcanoes in the subduction zone, that is where the Earth “swallows” part of its crust through plate tectonics to “recycle” the rock. But this North American West is not like that.
According to online publication in the journal Earth-Science Reviews, this magma belt was mainly created about 50-80 million years ago, during a mountain-building event called “Laramide orogeny”, giving birth to most Wyoming (USA), including the Laramide range, the focus of research. Scientists suspect that it is this mountain-forming process that also melts the Earth’s crust.
This melting is of course not visible to the naked eye, but is happening at depths from about 16 km below the surface. Usually it takes a volcano with a huge amount of heat to melt the rocks in the Earth’s crust. But the analysis shows that the mountain formation process is very likely to seep into the deep crust of this area, reducing the melting point of the rock.
Citing the study, EurekAlert said that just about 800 degrees Celsius, the Wyoming underground rock melted into a soft, hot, and paste form. The good news is that the mysterious melting of rocks in Wyoming is not an unusual phenomenon and is harmful to humans, but it can also create precious ore mines. Therefore, research on this molten rock belt could help discover geological treasures in the future. It is very likely that in the long run, the landscape of the mountains on the surface will change with this melting process, but it will be a natural phenomenon, and will be extremely slow.