Deepest earthquake ever detected struck 467 miles beneath Japan

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Deepest earthquake ever detected struck 467 miles beneath Japan

One spring evening six years ago, hundreds of miles underground, our planet began to rumble from a series of peculiar earthquakes. Most of Earth’s temblors strike within a few dozen miles of the surface, but these quakes stirred at depths where temperatures and pressures grow so intense that rocks tend to bend rather than break.

If confirmed, the temblor would be a shock to geologists who thought rocks that deep inside Earth were too putty-like to break and shake.

The first jolt, which struck off the coasts of Japan’s remote Bonin Islands, was recorded at magnitude 7.9 and up to 680 kilometers (423 miles) underground, making it one of the deepest quakes of its size. Then another oddity emerged in the cascade of aftershocks that followed: a tiny temblor that, if confirmed, would be the deepest earthquake ever detected.

The ultradeep quake, described recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, is estimated to have struck some 751 kilometers (467 miles) beneath the surface in the layer of our planet known as the lower mantle, where scientists have long thought earthquakes unlikely, if not impossible. While there have been hints of lower mantle quakes before, researchers have struggled to pinpoint them within this layer of the Earth…READ ON

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