The Earth’s mantle is comprised of rock. This rock contains a variety of minerals and elements, such as silicon, magnesium, oxygen, aluminum and iron. The mantle is situated between the crust and the core.
Basic Facts About the Earth’s Mantle
The thickness of the mantle spans about 1,802 miles and it comprises approximately 84 percent of the planet’s total volume. The early mantle was mostly made up of a molten material. This was approximately 4.5 billion years ago when the planet was starting to take shape. It was not long before nickel and iron quickly separated from the other minerals and rocks to make up the core of the new planet.
The Temperature of the Mantle
This portion of the Earth is extremely hot. Close to the core, the mantle can reach temperatures as high as 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. When you get closer to the crust, the temperatures are still quite hot, reaching approximately 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. While the mantle is solid, the extreme temperatures cause the mantle to slowly move below the crust of the planet.
New Discoveries Within the Earth’s Mantle
There is a transition zone within the mantle and scientists have long believed that this area could contain some water. The transition zone is situated 255 to 410 miles between the upper and lower levels of the mantle. It is thought that rare minerals have trapped water, but until recently, this was a theory that remained unproven.
Scientists have conducted experiments that show them some melting of the downward-flowing mantle material. They say that since this melting is happening, water has to be present in this zone.
You might remember some of this information about the Earth’s mantle from your science classes. This part of the planet is largely the bulk of the Earth’s interior, making up the majority of the planet’s total volume.