We have the ability to look into the sky and see what’s up there. We can’t really say that about what lies beneath our feet. There is a whole different unseen
With science working around the clock and using the latest technology, we are finding out more about what’s under us. These days, there are new findings being announced on a regular basis. Here are the top 10 things hidden deep under Earth.
10. See Through Snail
A previously undiscovered snail species has been found over 3,000 feet below the Earth’s surface in a Croatian cave. Zospeum tholussum is a tiny translucent snail that was discovered by cavers and biologists who were on an expedition to find out how deep the Lukina Jama-Trojama cave system is.
The snail has been found to be extremely slow-moving, traveling only a couple centimeters in a week. According to Alexander Weigand at Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany, “They only creep a few millimeters or centimeters a week, and mainly in circles, grazing at one point where they live”. This discovery and many like it show how much is yet to be found here on Earth.
9. The Devil Worm
The “devil worm” is a newly discovered nematode that lives over two miles below the Earth’s surface. Prior to this discovery, it was thought that only microbes existed this far down. As it turns out, those microbes are likely what these newly discovered devil worms eat.
The devil worm’s existence, so far beneath the Earth’s surface, was confirmed through deeply drilled samples were extracted. It is thought that these nematodes have been living in these depths for thousands of years and have evolved to survive the pressure and the heat of these depths. This discovery makes the devil worm one of the top 10 things hidden deep under Earth.
8. Ancient Underground Networks
Elaborate underground tunnel systems have been discovered in numerous places. A system that stretches over 800 kilometers was found beneath the Mayan pyramid complex at Tikal. The Giza Plateau holds an elaborate system of man-made tunnels. In Turkey, the largest underground city was discovered. It consists of 8 levels that reach depths of 80 meters and has more than 600 entrances from the surface. It is thought to have been built in the 8th century BC.
In China, 24 man-made caves were discovered that would have entailed the excavation of over 36,000 cubic meters of stone. There have also been discoveries of similar systems in Europe that date back to 1000 BC.
Over a mile beneath the Earth’s surface near the Black Sea, a newly found member of the springtail family thrives. These springtails live in complete darkness in near freezing temperatures. The newly found plutomurus ortobalaganensis has no eyes or wings and feeds on fungus and other decomposing organic matter. Unlike other insects that live in the subterranean depths, the plutomorus has pigment which could mean that they have not been living at such depths for long. Normally, creatures living at these depths don’t use their eyesight to navigate.
6. Ancient Hominids (Homo Naledi)
Another discovery found deep below the Earth’s surface has been recently revealed. Deep inside a South African cave, scientists found fossils of what they believe is an ancient human. They have yet to determine the age of the fossils but they tell us that these ancient humans stood less than 5 feet tall and had a brain about one-third the size of a modern human’s brain. This ancient human also had many features that have never been seen before.
In all, there were believed to be 15 individuals found ranging in age from infant to fully grown. One of the bigger mysteries is the question of how these ancient humans found their way into such a remote and inaccessible place.
5. Massive Reservoir
Recently discovered, a massive reserve of water approximately three times the volume of all the Earth’s oceans combined exists far below the Earth’s surface. It is about 700 kilometers down and is found hidden inside ringwoodite. This discovery points to the possibility of the oceans being formed by water seeping out of the core to the surface. This challenges a long-held theory that water arrived on Earth in comets. If all of that newly discovered water was released to the surface it would cover the entire planet. Only the very tops of the highest mountains would possibly break the water’s surface.
4. “Hades” Centipede
This small but poisonous predator is a new discovery. With 33 sets of legs, the “Hades” centipede is an invertebrate that possesses powerful jaws, long curved claws, and poisonous glands. Geophilus hadesi has been found at depths up to 3,600 feet where it uses its long antennae to navigate the dark environment. It is a true creepy-crawly. It measures in at between 2.2 and 2.8 centimeters long and is one of only two creatures known to live its entire life underground. One of the top 10 things hidden deep under Earth, it is believed that the Hades centipede is one of the top-tier cave-dwelling predators.
Diamonds are one of the top 10 things hidden deep under Earth and they are created far below the Earth’s surface. There are clear-cut requirements that need to be met in order for diamonds to be created. Carbon-bearing material needs to be subjected to extremely intense pressure at a very high temperature. There are only two places on Earth that meet these requirements and one of them is way down in the lithospheric mantle.
After forming over the course of many years, they are brought from the mantle to the surface through deep volcanic eruptions. These eruptions emit magma that eventually cools into diamond bearing rocks called kimberlites and lamproites.
An estimated 26,000 kilograms, worth about $9 billion are mined each year.
2. An Ancient Earth
A team of Harvard scientists believe that they have discovered remnants of an ancient planet inside our own Earth’s mantle. They think that it could possibly be part of another planet-sized object that slammed into the Earth long ago resulting in the creation of the Moon.
Popular belief says that the Moon was formed when a body the size of Mars collided with our planet. The heat created by this collision melted the Earth resulting in debris spinning off of the Earth to eventually create the Moon.
1. A Core That is Hotter Than the Surface of the Sun
Taking the 3,958-mile journey to the center of the Earth sounds great in fantasy but it would be like walking on the Sun when you got there. The Earth’s inner core consists mostly of solid iron and nickel that is heated to over 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s at least as hot as the surface of the Sun and is one of the top 10 things hidden deep under Earth. The super-heated iron core is under so much pressure from the weight of the world around it that the inner core can’t liquefy.
Thank the Earth’s core for giving Earth its magnetic shield which protects us from solar radiation and solar winds. Without the Earth’s magnetic shield we would be bombarded with solar radiation and cease to exist.