Scientists have discovered the ancient remains of the Pacific Ocean extending hundreds of miles underneath China.
This old piece of the Pacific is a relic of the oceanic lithosphere. The upper surface layer of the lithosphere is composed of several fragmented tectonic plates, which slowly move and shift around at the surface, occasionally running into each other.
During these subductions, one plate gets forced under the other at subduction zones – for example the Cascadia Subduction Zone – and ends up being driven ever deeper into the planet.
The new science study depicts this epic phenomenon taking place at greater depths than ever before observed, at depths between 410–660 kilometers (254–410 miles) below Earth’s surface. Prior records were at depths of about 200 kilometers (roughly 125 miles).
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