September 3, 2019

E21 – X-rays of the Earth’s Gooey Center

Posted by Shane Hanlon

Digging a hole for the sensor vault during the installation of a seismic station. Credit: John West/High Lava Plains Project

Much like x-rays can show broken bones (or noses), seismic equipment can show us what’s going on in Earth’s interior. While seismologists can’t take quick snapshots like medical doctors can, they can provide an image of tectonic plate movements over time to help the scientific community – and local communities – understand geophysical phenomena from mountain formations to volcanoes to the earthquakes that rock their world.

Lara Wagner, a seismologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, leads teams as they search for remote places around the globe to position their seismometers. This involves digging holes, being resourceful, and implementing equipment ranging from solar panels to duct tape, the latter of which Lara considers herself a connoisseur. 

In this episode, she describes her work in South America, the process of selecting sites for seismometers, how she and her teams engage with local residents, as well as some surprising findings the sensitive equipment can pick up. Lara highlights what scientists have been able to learn about Earth’s gooey center through seismology, including weak plates that bend and break, and the impacts we experience on the surface.

This episode was produced by Katie Broendel and mixed by Kayla Surrey.

Transcript

Nanci:                           00:00                You know what?

Shane:                          00:01                Oh. Hi, Nancy.

Nanci:                           00:02                You know what?

Shane:                          00:02                Hi, Nancy.

Nanci:                           00:02                Hi.

Nanci:                           00:02                You know what?

Shane:                          00:04                This is why we don’t let you do this. What’s that?

Nanci:                           00:07                I’ve never actually broken a major bone.

Shane:                          00:10                Wait, really?

Nanci:                           00:11                Yeah. Did you ever break a bone and had to get an X-ray or something?

Shane:                          00:15                Yeah.

Nanci:                           00:16                I’ve broken fingers and toes, but I’ve actually never… Now that I said this I’m going to go break my leg [crosstalk 00:00:19].

Lauren:                         00:17                So you have broken a bone, even though you just said you’ve never broken a bone.

Nanci:                           00:22                Major, major, I said.

Shane:                          00:24                Define, okay, so… yeah, major.

Nanci:                           00:28                Cast, a cast, never had to cast.

Shane:                          00:29                Oh, well I know it’s like, okay. Yeah, I was going to say I broke my shoulder once, but I was only in a sling. I did break my nose once. I got, I got elbowed when I was playing soccer and I didn’t really think anything of it, it just hurt a lot, like when it happened. I got taken off the field and everything else. And a few days later, I got two black eyes. I looked like a raccoon and my mom’s like, “Shane, you need to go to the doctor.” And so we went and yeah, my nose, like you look at the X-ray, there was a piece of my nose floating around in my nose, like, like it didn’t snap. It just like, there was like a hole in it essentially. And the surgeon told, told me afterwards, he’s like, “Yeah, before we put you under,” he’s like, “I could literally stick my thumb in the bridge of your nose.”

Nanci:                           01:17                Wait, but you didn’t know that there was this piece of your nose in your nose until you got the X-ray? Like you were like, you were like, like you were in pain, but you’re like, “Whatever.”

Shane:                          01:24                Well, I mean, I knew that there was something wrong and hurt and it was swelling, but no, I didn’t realize that there was just like something floating around in there.

Lauren:                         01:29                The beauty of medicine.

Shane:                          01:30                I know.

Shane:                          01:35                Welcome to the American Geophysical Union’s podcast about the scientists and the methods behind the science. These are the stories you won’t read in the manuscript or hear in a lecture. I’m Shane Hanlon.

Nanci:                           01:45                And I’m Nanci Bompey.

Lauren:                         01:45                And I’m Lauren Lipuma.

Shane:                          01:48                And this is Third Pod from the Sun.

Lauren:                         01:55                That’s such a gross story, Shane.

Shane:                          01:58                I told, I told you it was gnarly.

Lauren:                         01:59                I know. Nose stuff really freaks me out.

Shane:                          02:01                Yeah. Well, okay. So, so for you and probably a lot of our listeners, good thing is we’re not talking about nose stuff, or body things.

Lauren:                         02:07                We are not talking about any more broken bones or nasty medical stories no, but…

Shane:                          02:11                We’re talking about X-rays in a sense.

Lauren:                         02:14                In a sense, yes, because we’re talking about imaging but not bodies. We’re imaging the interior of the Earth. So, our guest today is Lara Wagner and she’s a seismologist and she travels the world to set out and deploy seismic equipment that picks up seismic waves and helps her and her colleagues image the interior of the Earth.

Lara:                             02:36                My name’s Lara Wagner. I am a staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, here in Washington, D.C., and I’m a seismologist. So, my primary research is studying how the world works by looking at seismic waves.

Lara:                             02:52                Most of what I do involves trying to image the inside of the planet, right? So you know, astronomers look up in the sky to see what’s out there. But if you want to look down into the Earth, you have the problem that light, of course, does not pass through rock, but seismic waves, which are just another type of wave, do pass through rock. And so we can use seismic waves in the same way a doctor might use X-rays to image the inside of human body, we use seismic waves to image the inside of the planet. The caveat is that to have a strong enough source for the seismic waves, you need to use earthquakes, which we don’t control and you have to have recorders, which are dominantly on land and there aren’t that many of them.

Lara:                             03:40                So, if I want to study a particular area in any detail, I have to go and put those recorders out there and then they have to run for long enough that we record enough earthquakes that we can image what we want to see. So, it’s a little bit trickier, you can’t just go to a doctor’s appointment and take a snapshot, get the image that you want. You have to kind of go and put out equipment where you want it, record for a long time and then analyze those data.

Lauren:                         04:05                Wow. So, okay. So obviously you can look at many different types of things. What is one kind of project that you’re working on right now? Like one part of the Earth you’re trying to image and what are you trying to find out?

Lara:                             04:16                So, one of the areas that I’ve spent a lot of time studying is in South America. South America, the Western coast of South America has the Andes mountains. The reason those mountains are there is because the plate underneath the Pacific Ocean, which is called the Nazca Plate, is sinking down under the West coast of South America. And when it sinks down, it brings with it lots of water and sediments. And when those come in contact with hot rocks, they melt and they produce volcanoes.

Lara:                             04:46                Normally, these plates go straight down. So they kind of go down at like 30 or 45 degree dip angle and they just sink way, way deep into the Earth. But there are two places in South America, in particular, that I’ve been studying where that doesn’t happen. The plate sinks a little ways down, maybe about 60 miles or so. And then it just kind of flattens out and it kind of travels horizontally for hundreds of miles before it sort of decides, “Oh no, I should be sinking.” And then turns the corner and starts sinking deeper into the Earth. And there are a lot of sort of interesting things that we can study about the whole Earth by studying these little weird segments. So I spent a lot of time going to those areas, putting out seismometers in the field, recording earthquakes and then, and then after that we spend years analyzing those data to know what it is that we’ve captured.

Lauren:                         05:45                Okay. So tell us about that process of going to South America and setting out seismometers, you know, where are you going? How are you putting out the equipment, how does it all work?

Lara:                             05:55                Yeah, that’s tricky. So typically, see… You start off by thinking about what is it that I want to image, right? So you always have to start with the science, what’s, what am I trying to see? And then you pull out a map and you, you kind of put dots on the map or what are the ideal configuration of recorders to pick up these seismic waves that will give me this image that I’m trying to come up with. And then reality strikes and you have to think about which one of those dots are anywhere near a road or not in the middle of a major river or ravine or a in an area that’s maybe not safe to travel to or in an area that’s in the middle of the jungle where you can’t get light for your solar panels, et cetera, et cetera. Also, because we’re recording very, very subtle ground motions, we don’t want to be near major cities, major highways, hydroelectric dams… Anything that’s going to make the ground vibrate is really bad for us.

Lara:                             06:54                Even the computer is not, you can’t use like a laptop. It’s not useful to other people. Maybe as scrap metal and even that, I doubt it. But the solar panels and the batteries and to a lesser extent the cables, those are very popular. And especially when you’re in remote places where they don’t have standard electricity or reliable electricity. These, the deep cycle batteries, these really good batteries that we get, the solar panels grow legs like nobody’s business. So you have to have somebody watching the equipment. So you need a resident, you need someone who lives there year round who will vouch for this equipment and you kind of put it where they say they can keep it safe as far enough away from their residence and from where they might be walking around or have animals walking around, but close enough that they feel confident that they can keep it in place for, for two years or however long you’re planning on being there.

Lara:                             07:56                And that combination of accessibility and finding somebody who’s willing to keep an eye on it can be sort of an adventure. So there’s a, there’s a real component of sort of adventure travel that goes with the fieldwork. Just simply because no amount of planning will tell you exactly what is going on on the ground when you get there, so…

Lauren:                         08:20                You kind of go in blind and you have to just make the best plan you can. And then when you get there, you see what there is.

Lara:                             08:25                Yeah, we do a lot of driving around and just knocking on doors and asking people, you know, “Hey, we’re studying earthquakes. Can we put a seismometer in your backyard for two years?” And it’s actually amazing to me how wonderfully well received the vast majority of people are very supportive and helpful and willing to, to host a station if they can.

Lauren:                         08:53                That’s great. Yeah, so… Yeah, so when you are going up and knocking on those people’s doors, what do they, what’s their normal initial response? Are they kind of like, “Who are these people?” Or, are they… Do you have to kind of warm them up to the idea a little bit?

Lara:                             09:04                You know, it really depends on where you are and places, especially in South America, pretty much everyone has felt a strong earthquake. They know what earthquakes are, they know what mountains are. They know that these things are dangerous, these are things we are trying to understand. And so when you tell them, “I’m here to study this,” and we always are in close collaboration with scientists in-country, they are usually quite keen to be able to help, especially when all they have to do is sort of keep an eye on a solar panel in the backyard.

Lara:                             09:40                Typically, once you explain, again, you know, we’re studying earthquakes, we’re studying how these mountains got here and we’re studying what causes the ground to shake. People are familiar with earthquakes. They’re worried about them. They’re glad that somebody’s studying them and they’re very supportive.

Lara:                             09:55                In some places, it’s usually in places that are remote, it’s hard to sort of share what you’re doing in a way that I think is interesting to them. But occasionally what we’ll do is if like there was an earthquake really close to somebody’s property or we can show them if there was an earthquake that was in the news that they might’ve heard about that was on the other side of the planet, we can show them what that looked like recorded on the station in their backyard, right?

Lara:                             10:20                So, depending on what’s happening in the news, if there was something, you know, that they would be aware of that was ground shaking that we recorded on their seismometer, we can show them, “Hey look, your sensor’s working again. This is, this is how much your backyard shook because of this earthquake in Indonesia,” you know, or whatever. And so that’s sometimes interesting and exciting for them to see.

Lauren:                         10:43                I think it’d be really cool to have a seismic station in your backyard.

Nanci:                           10:46                Yes. I’d be like, what does it look like? Is it just like a box?

Lauren:                         10:49                Yeah, you don’t really see it. You see the solar panel, but it’s all buried underground, but…

Lauren:                         10:52                Because I don’t know, I would just…

Shane:                          10:54                [inaudible 00:10:54] We don’t really have earthquakes around here, I mean, we’ve had one, but right?

Lauren:                         10:58                Yeah, one, a small one.

Nanci:                           10:59                Like, we’re [inaudible 00:11:00] Lauren about thinking…

Shane:                          11:01                Yeah, Lauren…

Lauren:                         11:02                Well, if you just let me talk. I would just be distracted, though, the whole time I would just go out there and just jump around and see if it would pick up my jump.

Nanci:                           11:10                That’s good. That’s good.

Lauren:                         11:12                Once you install the equipment and you go, you don’t really know what’s happening with it until you go back. You’re just…

Lara:                             11:18                You don’t know.

Lara:                             11:19                You know, unless if you happen to be, if it happens to be somewhere that’s close enough that a land owner notices, “Hey, your solar panel disappeared,” they might call, maybe. But that rarely happens. So as a general rule, no, you just don’t know what’s going on with your stations until you go back. And then you can usually do what’s called a Stomp Test where you stomp your foot and you can see the seismometer go… You know?

Lauren:                         11:42                How sensitive are they? Like, what’s the smallest movement they can kind of pick up?

Lara:                             11:47                Well, they’ll pick up ground motion from any earthquake anywhere in the planet. That’s bigger than like a five and a half. So, the Virginia earthquake that happened that, if you live here in D.C. or anywhere nearby, you probably remember, that would have been recorded by this type of equipment located anywhere on the planet.

Lara:                             12:09                That a reasonably quiet site, it’d be a small signal, but you’d see it above the noise. From an anthropogenic standpoint, certainly anybody walking anywhere nearby will be recorded. And we’ve even done things like, our seismometer lab is in the basement of one of our buildings and if you, if you have it perfectly level and quiet and you walk in, the weight of walking in on this slab tilts the slab enough that the entire signal kind of rocks up on an end until it [inaudible 00:12:41] itself.

Lara:                             12:43                So you’ll, you’ll see the tilting of a building that you just stepped on. They’re very sensitive.

Nanci:                           12:54                So what’s like the weirdest thing they ever picked up on these seismometers?

Lauren:                         12:58                Well, actually it’s, that’s a funny story. Lara told me this funny, crazy thing that happened not to her, but to some of her colleagues that were, had some equipment deployed in Cameroon during the World Cup.

Lara:                             13:09                This wasn’t my deployment, but yeah, it was a deployment that had been put out same idea, right? So, temporary portable deployment across Cameroon and it was during the World Cup.

Lara:                             13:23                So they had these strange arrivals that showed up at every station at exactly the same time, which would imply a wave traveling at infinite speed. I mean, this is covering a large area, it should take some different, no matter where it’s coming from, it should be coming in at one station before the other. And they finally, yeah, they, they put it together that all of these spikes were correlated with goals scored by Cameroon during the World Cup soccer tournament.

Lara:                             13:53                And so… Basically, the entire country jumped up and down and that infinite speed is the speed of light, right? It’s the speed with which their televisions were transmitting live, live stream, broadcast. So, there’s some, there’s some interesting stuff like that. Every now and then somebody will do something where they’ll look at some big sporting event and, and do that. I always thought it’d be fun to have a string of seismometers that went from New York City to Boston during, let’s say if you had a Yankees, Red Sox play off and then you could, you could, you could actually scientifically determine where the red blue line is located, right? It’s probably somewhere around New Haven, I think, right? But you could, you could quantify that.

Lauren:                         14:38                You should do that.

Lara:                             14:39                You could get a dense enough array going out across New England. It’d be kind of awesome.

Lauren:                         14:42                Yeah, I think NSF will totally fund that.

Lara:                             14:44                Absolutely.

Lauren:                         14:46                It’s very useful.

Lara:                             14:47                Clearly.

Lara:                             14:48                Fortunately here in the U.S. we have a wonderful instrument lending program. The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology runs an instrument pool called Pascal that provides seismic equipment to anybody that’s funded through the National Science Foundation to do seismology research. And these guys are amazing. They are the experts in seismic instrumentation and have been for decades. So, they maintain this pool of equipment with NSF funding. And then if I get funded by the National Science Foundation to go to, let’s say, Peru to install a bunch of seismometers, they make those available and then also help with the shipping and customs.

Lara:                             15:33                Once we’re in country, the, so the scientific equipment, the solar panels, the sensors, the digitizers, the cables, all of that we have here in the U.S., we’re shipping. In country, we’re buying things like batteries, solar panel poles, if it needs to be up high. Pending on the type of sensor, typically we build a vault. So, for that, the sensors, many, most of the sensors owned by Pascal are not waterproof. So you need to build some sort of waterproof container. At the same time it needs to be buried.

Lara:                             16:08                So, what we do, what I typically do, and everybody’s got sort of their own design, I will buy a, like a 35 or 50 gallon drum, like one of these big plastic drums with the plastic lid that has a little screw port hole that you can use. And I will bury that completely. So that’s about good three feet down, or so, maybe a foot and a half, two feet across, and you pour about a hundred pounds of concrete under the barrel and then another 50 pounds of concrete in the barrel in the hole, to kind of couple it. And then you kind of have to smooth that out and tamp everything in and let that cure for a day.

Lara:                             16:47                And then that’s your seismometer pier, right? And so that’s what you’re putting your sensor into. And then you run a cable out of that into a separate box that has your computer and your power system and then a separate cable from that to the solar panel and whatever that’s mounted on.

Lara:                             17:05                So it’s, there’s a decent amount of sort of like contractor work. I always joke with my grad students that, you know, “Hey, if seismology doesn’t work out for you, you can get a job as a contractor doing all kinds of work.”

Lauren:                         17:18                So you’re kind of part contractor, part engineer, part laborer, you’re just doing it all.

Lara:                             17:23                Yeah, yeah, yeah. I, I sometimes joke that I’ve got a PhD in digging holes. I’m very good at digging holes.

Lauren:                         17:30                That’s great. You never know when that skill will come in handy.

Lara:                             17:32                That and differential equations. Those are like the two things you need to be a field seismologist.

Nanci:                           17:38                Differential equations…

Lauren:                         17:40                Differential equations are the worst thing in the universe. I’m, I’m so glad I have not seen a single one since I graduated from college.

Shane:                          17:47                I just need to add that like, before we recorded this, I just had a big diatribe about differential equations. And I…

Lauren:                         17:51                Cause they’re terrible. It’s like the part of math that just like makes you hate your life.

Nanci:                           17:57                Well, I think that’s what weeds out, though. Like, you’re like, “Yep, nope, not going to be a math major”.

Shane:                          18:02                It’s like the organic chemistry of…

Lauren:                         18:03                Of math, yeah, definitely.

Nanci:                           18:06                Yeah, yeah, something like that. But anyway, it’s not all just differential equations, right? I mean, she does all these like… Very physical job too. I mean…

Lauren:                         18:12                Yeah, it really physical, it’s almost kind of like a reality show. Like things break and they have to fix them and you can only use what you have with you. What’s that chef show where they give them weird ingredients…?

Nanci:                           18:22                Chopped?

Shane:                          18:22                Yeah, it’s chopped.

Lauren:                         18:23                Yeah, and they have to make something out of it. I don’t watch that, so… I don’t know.

Nanci:                           18:25                But that might actually be a good reality show of survival with just these five things.

Lauren:                         18:32                Yeah, like… We’ll pitch it to Netflix.

Nanci:                           18:35                Do it.

Lara:                             18:36                I empathized with, you know, I saw, what was it, Apollo 13? When they’re like, “We needed to make an air filter that fits this square peg and this round tube with these things, go!” And I was like, “Yeah, I know how that feels.” I’m usually not in a nice dry room but, you know, yeah, I totally know.

Lauren:                         18:57                Whenever you go out in the field, obviously you have to MacGyver a lot of things but, is there, and there’s a point to this, is there any kind of strange or sorry, normal regular like household item that you use for a scientific purpose that people would not think about? Like, for example, I know there’s, we had heard about a scientist who uses this particular type of tea strainer to collect ants cause it’s like the perfect size and the, and the holes in the strainer, it’s just the right size. Is there any like kind of everyday object that you use in a science way?

Lara:                             19:28                Duct tape. I am a connoisseur of good duct tape. It is hard to get high quality duct tape. You can get like military grade duct tape. I’ve heard rumors of nuclear grade duct tape, though I’ve not seen it in person. But it makes a big difference because if you’ve ever seen what duct tape looks like after two years in the sun, it’s basically dust and fiber. And if you can get something that actually lasts longer, you’re better off. And we don’t use it for anything essential for that reason. But, but if you want to, let’s say, duct tape on a, a plastic sign that says, you know, do not disturb, its odds of this being there when you come back are higher if you, if you’ve used a high quality duct tape, then the stuff that you, that you get off the shelf wherever.

Shane:                          20:13                Man… So I, I mean, I guess in daily life too, I’ve had to like MacGyver so many different things all the time and just like make things work. I can imagine doing that on the field.

Lauren:                         20:24                Yeah. It must be really hard. The, the only thing I can really think of in my life that I was very proud of myself for MacGyvering, but it’s really not that complicated, was there’s like this, this thing in my car, you know like the little like kind of like compartment in the top on the roof under the roof and you press it and like you can sort of put your sunglasses in there? Mine, for some reason, the clip that holds it close is broken and so, it just always falls down and it covers my rear-view mirror and it drives me insane. But one day I pulled out and I, I always like slam it shut and it never stays, but I pulled out one of those lens cloths, you know, that clean up camera, cameras and stuff and I folded it up really tight and I shoved it in there and I closed it as hard as I could and it has never opened since. It was the best thing ever.

Shane:                          21:03                Lara would be so proud. Yeah, no, I mean it’s nice like being able to do things in the comfort, I guess, of, of your own car, your own home, but doing these things out in the middle of nowhere, it must be really difficult. But the flip side of that is that I imagine she gets to travel to some just like amazing places.

Lauren:                         21:20                What do you think is the most remote place you’ve had to go or where was the most difficult, challenging?

Lara:                             21:26                Oh, those are two different things, actually. Some of the places aren’t that remote, but when the roads wash out it can be pretty exciting. A lot, very often we are on dirt roads and in the rainy season landslides will wash the roads away and there’ll be rebuilt, but they get pretty rutted and depending on what type of vehicle we’re able to rent, because we can’t always necessarily rent the best four by four we would like to have, plus we have a lot of equipment so there’s often a van, so that we don’t have to go out and back for each station. Getting stuck and finding ways to, to pull your vehicle out of, out of ditches is something that you get pretty good at.

Lara:                             22:07                Also, also fixing flat tires. Very good at fixing flat tires. So that, that can be a challenge onto itself. And it doesn’t even have to be that remote for the roads to be pretty bad. But some of the more remote stations, we had stations where it was, you know, if we, we tried to stay off the roads after dark just for safety reasons and there were stations where from the nearest place we could stay to the station and back at best daylight, sunup to sundown, we would have three or four hours to work.

Lara:                             22:39                Fieldwork is, is challenging anywhere. So, I mean it’s easy to talk about Peru being remote and difficult to do fieldwork in, but I’ve done fieldwork in Georgia, the state, not the country, and Eastern Oregon, which are beautiful and the roads are certainly in, well, to the extent that we were on roads, the roads are in better condition, but often if you’re driving in Oregon through cattle country, you’re off road and the ranchers there take very good care of their property and so you can certainly, and you know, you make sure to take care of, you know, closing the fences behind you that’s sort of drilled into your head as an absolute must.

Lara:                             23:21                But flat tires do happen when you’re just spending that much time off road going through brush trying to get to that station, you really decided it needed to be way out there. You know, it’s a, it’s an interesting way to get to know your own country and to, to drive around to places you wouldn’t otherwise go, again, because your target isn’t to see some city or some tourist site or even an historic site. It’s because you need it for imaging some structure that’s far down in the Earth, and so… Where those dots that are on the map don’t correspond to roads or other geographic locations, so… That’s always kind of an adventure.

Lara:                             23:55                And no matter where you go, solar panels are popular. Really. It does, does not matter. Like, it really doesn’t. I mean, come on, if you put a solar panel up in D.C. that didn’t have a camera watching it, how long would that last? You know, I mean, they’re always useful. They always have a resale value. They also make for good target practice apparently.

Lauren:                         24:16                Oh really? You’ve had people shoot at your solar panels?

Lara:                             24:19                Judging by the holes in them. Yeah, it happens.

Lauren:                         24:24                What are some of the things that you’ve learned so far? So, like you mentioned, the, the plate that’s going underneath South America, that kind of like, goes down and bends a little bit, goes back down. Have you… What have you learned about that?

Lara:                             24:36                Well, you know, it’s interesting. I think maybe one of the biggest lessons that has been coming out of our research is just how, apparently, weak these plates are, once they go underground. Traditional plate tectonics has this image of this big sheet of rock just kind of sinking straight down, as this big plane deep into the Earth, right? And the thinking was that, you know, the rest of the mantle might kind of move around them, but that they were sort of these impermeable barriers that just kind of monolithically went down. And that is not the case.

Lara:                             25:17                They bend in fairly dramatic, it’s not like they just kind of bend in big benches. They’re really contorted and in places torn, we’ve been finding tears in these plates. There’s some evidence from looking at the crystallographic orientation in these plates using what we call seismic anisotropy, basically seismic waves that travel faster in one direction than in another. And you can use that to study the structure of the crystals in the plate and that shows you if it’s been stretched or deformed, and we’ve seen, these things are actually kind of getting stretched out as they’re kind of bending around these weird shapes, they would have to be, that makes sense. But it’s interesting to see the extent of the deformation.

Lara:                             26:05                And none of this is very deep, right? So this is, you know, maybe anywhere from 70 to 150 miles down, maybe a little bit more. But, but it’s as for the Earth, which is much, much bigger than that, this is very shallow and that these things are already so gooey, so shallow is, is a surprise. And it’s, it’s an important one because so much of what we understand about the dynamics of the interior of the plate depend on whether or not you had these big blocking monolithic sheets of things going down or whether these things move or bend or deform, or whether they’re torn, cause then, you know, all bets are off.

Nanci:                           26:50                So, gooey. Who would have thought gooey inside of the Earth?

Shane:                          26:54                No… It’s much like that piece of bone and that was just floating around, inside…

Lauren:                         26:58                God, okay, no.

Nanci:                           27:00                It is weird that when you did an X-ray and you were like, “That’s inside me?”.

Shane:                          27:07                But you have never broken a bone. What kind of X-rays have you been getting?

Nanci:                           27:09                But even the teeth X-rays, they’d be like, “those teeth go real far up”.

Lauren:                         27:12                They do, the roots, they go so far, they’re very deep.

Shane:                          27:18                All right, folks. Well that’s all from Third Pod from the Sun.

Nanci:                           27:20                Thanks so much to Lauren, for bringing us this story, and of course to Lara, for sharing her work with us.

Shane:                          27:25                This podcast was produced by Katie Broendel and mixed by Kayla Surrey.

Nanci:                           27:29                We would love to hear your thoughts on our podcast. Please rate and review us on Apple podcasts. You can get us wherever you get your podcast or always at thirdpodfromthesun.com.

Shane:                          27:39                Thanks all and we’ll see you next time.