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Two giant points in the Earth’s mantle may explain the strangeness of geology in Africa

3D view of the point in the Earth’s mantle below Africa, shown in red, yellow, and orange. Cyan represents the main mantle boundary, blue indicates the surface, and transparent gray indicates the continents. (Crédito de la foto: Mingming Li / ASU)

Deep in the Earth’s mantle, there two giant dots. One is located under Africa and the other is almost opposite the first, under the Pacific Ocean. But these two points are not equally congruent.

New research finds that the point under Africa extends closer to the surface, and is more stable than the point under the Pacific Ocean. Ultimately, this difference could help explain why the crust under Africa has risen to a higher level and why the continent has experienced many massive volcanic eruptions over hundreds of millions of years.