Science & Tech

Deepest earthquake ever detected should have been impossible

Scientists have detected the deepest earthquake ever, a staggering 467 miles (751 kilometers) below the Earth’s surface.

That depth puts the quake in the lower mantle, where seismologists expected earthquakes to be impossible. That’s because under extreme pressures, rocks are more likely to bend and deform than they are to break with a sudden release of energy. But minerals don’t always behave precisely as expected, said Pamela Burnley, a professor of geomaterials at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who was not involved in the research. Even at pressures where they should transform into different, less quake-prone states, they may linger in old configurations.

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