When scientists want to know more about the rocks deep inside the Earth, they must use other methods because they can’t observe the rocks directly with their senses. Using a technique called seismic tomography, scientists decode the information contained in seismograms’ squiggles to develop images of individual slices through the deep Earth. These images are used to understand not only the composition of Earth’s interior, but also to help explain geologic mysteries, like how the Sierra Nevada mountains formed and why there has been so much volcanism in eastern Oregon.
- Seismic tomography allows us to visualize cross sections of the crust and mantle and works through a process similiar to a CT scan (or CAT scan) of the Earth
- The EarthScope project will allow scientists to image North America at an unprecidented resolution