Potential remnants of the early Earth have been discovered near the planet's core in a groundbreaking discovery in the USA.
According to new research, the remains could be the leftover excess from a major crash against an ancient planet dating back billions of years.
Experts from the University of Utah detected layers of matter deep within the Earth's mantle which could give us answers as to how the world developed.
Researchers working on the study believe that the coatings could have formed after a planet around the same size of Mars collided with Earth roughly 4.5 billion years ago.
The assumed crash could have hurled debris into Earth's orbit which then created the moon later on. It is thought that it also raised the temperature of the Earth notably.
"As a result, a large body of molten material, known as a magma ocean, formed," researcher Surya Pachhai said.
The "magma ocean" would have eventually cooled, with dense materials sinking and piling on top of one another on the bottom of the mantle, according to the study.
The layers discovered in the study could show areas where materials have still not mixed together after billions of years of convection currents – movement caused by the heat of the Earth's core – within the mantle, scientists said.
The researchers studied ultra-low velocity zones – the patches of the Earth's core-mantle boundary where the layering was detected – beneath the Coral Sea, between Australia and New Zealand.
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This location offered a clearer picture of the zones because it experiences frequent earthquakes, which allow scientists to measure seismic waves as they radiate deeper into the Earth's surface.
The measurements can then be used to examine how the waves move within each layer of the surface, revealing information about the density and make-up of the planet's structure.
Pachhai said: "The physical properties of ultra-low velocity zones are linked to their origin, which in turn provides important information about the thermal and chemical status, evolution and dynamics of Earth's lowermost mantle – an essential part of mantle convection that drives plate tectonics.
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"The primary and most surprising finding is that the ultra-low velocity zones are not homogenous but contain strong heterogeneities (structural and compositional variations) within them.
"This finding changes our view on the origin and dynamics of ultra-low velocity zones.
"We found that this type of ultra-low velocity zone can be explained by chemical heterogeneities created at the very beginning of the Earth's history and that they are still not well mixed after 4.5 billion years of mantle convection."
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