Scientists Discover Massive “Ocean” Near Earth’s Core

    Scientists have discovered a massive “ocean” near Earth’s core. The investigation proved a theory, which was that ocean water accompanied subducting slabs and entered the transition zone.

    Scientists Discover Massive Ocean Near Earth's Core

    International research has revealed that beneath the Earth’s surface there is a reservoir of water that is three times the volume of all the oceans, reports NDTV. The water has been discovered in the region where the Earth’s upper and lower mantles intersect. According to ANI, the research team used methods including FTIR spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy to examine a rate diamond created 660 meters underneath the Earth’s surface.

    The study supported a long-held notion, according to which ocean water travels with subducting slabs and enters the transition zone. This implies that the interior of the Earth is a part of our planet’s water cycle.

    “These mineral transformations greatly hinder the movements of rock in the mantle,” explains Prof. Frank Brenker from the Institute for Geosciences at Goethe University in Frankfurt. Mantle plumes, ascending columns of heated rock from the deep mantle, for instance, may come to a standstill just below the transition zone. Mass that is moving in the opposite direction also stops moving.

    Brenker says, “Subducting plates often have difficulty in breaking through the entire transition zone. So there is a whole graveyard of such plates in this zone underneath Europe.”

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    However, up until this point, it was unclear what long-term consequences the “sucking” of material into the transition zone would have on its geochemical makeup and whether there would be more water present. Brenker clarifies: “The subducting slabs also carry deep-sea sediments piggyback into the Earth’s interior. These sediments can hold large quantities of water and CO2. But until now it was unclear just how much enters the transition zone in the form of more stable, hydrous minerals and carbonates — and it was therefore also unclear whether large quantities of water really are stored there.”

    Certainly, given the current circumstances, that would be conceivable. Wadsleyite and ringwoodite are dense minerals that can store a great deal of water, unlike olivine at shallower depths. In fact, they can store so much water that the transition zone could hypothetically absorb six times as much water that is in our oceans. “So we knew that the boundary layer has an enormous capacity for storing water,” Brenker says. “However, we didn’t know whether it actually did so.”

    The solution has now been provided by an international study in which the Frankfurt geoscientist was involved. A diamond from Botswana, Africa, was examined by the research team. It originated at a depth of 660 kilometers, right at the contact between the transition zone and the lower mantle, where the dominant mineral is ringwoodite. Diamonds from this location are extremely rare, even among the extremely rare diamonds of super-deep origin, which account for only 1% of all diamonds. The studies found that the stone has many ringwoodite inclusions with a high water content. The study team was also able to establish the chemical composition of the stone. It was nearly identical to nearly every chunk of mantle rock found in basalts around the planet. This proved that the diamond was formed from a normal chunk of the Earth’s mantle. “In this study, we have demonstrated that the transition zone is not a dry sponge, but holds considerable quantities of water,” Brenker says, adding: “This also brings us one step closer to Jules Verne’s idea of an ocean inside the Earth.” The distinction is that there isn’t an ocean down there; instead, there is hydrous rock, which, in Brenker’s estimation, would not feel wet or drip water.

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    4 COMMENTS

    1. If true, that sea water is draining down into the earths crust, then what accounts for rising seas? The levels should be dropping right?

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