Discovery of an area for metal deposits at the base of the earth’s crust

The metals are raw materials important for the production of renewable energy technologies. Recently, scientists discovered a mechanism by which these metals free themselves from the Earth’s crust. Thanks to their researchthey were able to identify a zoned in depth where the phenomenon occurs. It has an ideal temperature to allow the transportation and extraction from metals close to the surface.

These metals, especially copperthe cobaltthe tellurium and the platinum, are increasingly demanded by companies. In fact, they are used in technology such as energy networksthe systems of energy storage, solar cells and batteries combustible.

In addition, this research is part of the project FAMOS (From Arc Magma to Ore System), funded by the NERC (North America Electric Reliability Corporation), in which several universities participate, including the University of Cardiff and the University of Leicester.

Extraction and storage of metals

In general, metals are mainly deposited in the earth mantle, the thick layer of rock between the core and the crust of the Earth. Thereby, extraction Has depths of 25 km or more is practically impossible. The results of this study provide a more accurate, less expensive and more environmentally friendly means of detecting and extracting metals nonferrous.

The rise of metals to the top of the crust

According to the researchers, the metals rise to the top of the Earth’s crust. The team discovered that the temperature range associated with the lower crust acts as a buffer through which metals can regularly pass into the upper crust. Moreover, in some parts of the world, these metals can reach the surface of the Earth in the form of liquid rock (called magma) flowing from coat earthly around the crust.

When magmas reach the base of the crust, critical metals are often trapped there and cannot reach the surface if the temperature is too hot or too cold. As in the case of Goldilocks, we have found that if the temperature is ‘perfect’, around 1000°C, metals such as copper, gold and tellurium can escape from the trap and rise to the surface to form ore deposits. »

Iain McDonald, co-author of the study


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