Scientists Find Enormous Mountains Under Earth’s Surface

Massive mountains larger than Mount Everest hide underneath Earth's surface.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

Mountains Of Caradhras in The Lord of the Rings

Yes, thalassophobia or the fear of deep, dark waters has always been a thing but we’re here to deliver you your latest terror – what’s lurking underneath our feet. According to the BBC, there are chart-topping mountains inside of our planet’s interior that make Mount Everest and other giants like it look like a blip on the radar or a grain of sand on the beach. Discovered by a research team, the scientists who made the jarring find are stumped over how these mountains ended up buried underneath the Earth in the first place.

Dubbed ultra-low velocity zones (ULVZ), these gargantuan underground mountain ranges can be found in the core-mantle boundary. For those of us who didn’t necessarily pay attention or remember things from a science class taken all the way back in high school, the area in question is somewhere around 1,800 miles deep. This is where things get really interesting.

Some of the mountains clock in at “4.5 times the height of Everest” which may make you question how we’ve missed them for so long. The answer is that they were essentially hidden from researchers until earthquakes and atomic explosions rattled up enough data for them to be spotted by researchers. To give you a taste of how big some of these giants are, Mount Everest is around 5.5 miles high, meaning that the underground mountains are over 24 miles in height.

Mount Everest

So, where did these underground mountains come from? Scientists currently believe that these ancient formations were created when oceanic crusts were forced into Earth’s interior. It’s even more likely that the longer scientists do their work, the more they’ll discover. Mountains are just the start of it with researchers already stumbling upon what they refer to as “blobs,” which are scientifically known as large low-shear-velocity provinces. 

Revealing how far one must travel to stumble upon proof of these underground mountains, University of Alabama geologist, Samantha Hansen, says that she’s been leading an explorative study in Antarctica that dives into the seismic activity happening underground. According to Hansen, this is the best place to get a good feeling for what’s lurking below as with its southernmost location, blobs, and other extra pieces like them have long fallen off or shifted meaning that it’s a clear mountainous view for the researchers. While this may be the best place to conduct studies, Hansen reveals that the chances are high for other peaks like these to be found all around the Earth.

You know that we love a good advancement in science, which means that even if it’s terrifying, the news of gargantuan mountains deep under the Earth is an exciting find. Although it may add to our list of fears of the unknown world(s) both above and below us, it’s humbling to realize just how much of our own planet we have yet to discover. We’ll absolutely take all the news surrounding the mysteries within the Earth’s crust as opposed to the day-by-day advancements in artificial intelligence that will undoubtedly come back to haunt us.

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