Deep within Earth, where the solid mantle meets the molten outer core, strange continent-size blobs of hot rock jut out for hundreds of miles in every direction. These underground mountains go by many names: “thermo-chemical piles,” “large low-shear velocity provinces” (LLSVPs), or sometimes just “the blobs.”

Geologists don’t know much about where these blobs came from or what they are, but they do know that they’re gargantuan. The two biggest blobs, which sit deep below the Pacific Ocean and Africa, account for nearly 10% of the entire mantle’s mass, one 2016 study found — and, if they sat on Earth’s surface, the duo would each extend about 100 times higher than Mount Everest. However, new research suggests, even those lofty analogies may be underestimating just how big the blobs really are.



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