Researchers have made an astounding discovery. Found under a layer of rocks to more than 640 kilometers under the surface of the Earth, a reservoir that contains 3 times more water than all the oceans. ESM explain everything on this amazing discovery that could allow scientists to learn more about the origin of water on Earth.
A gigantic ocean at 640 km below the surface of the Earth Scientists working at the Northwestern University, United States, provided evidence that there was a huge amount of water underground. The reservoir is trapped in a cavity composed of a high pressure called rock Ringwoodite. With this discovery, the researchers hope to explain how the oceans have formed on our planet.
The team, led by mineralogist Steven Jacobsen, used a set of seismographs in 2000 to study how seismic waves generated by earthquakes were moving through the interior of the Earth. The speed of these waves changed depending rocks through which they pass, and the wet Ringwoodite has a particular effect on these waves. Steven has reproduced the same experiment in his lab and came to this edifying conclusion: Ringwoodite, when it is maintained under extreme heat and pressure, as in the Earth’s mantle, “sweat of the water.” It would then be trapped in a transition region between 320 and 640 kilometers deep.
And if the water on Earth came from a huge underground reservoir?
In any case think that the research team after discovering that ocean. Scientists hope also that this will allow them to better understand the water cycle on Earth but also how tectonic plates move water between the surface and the reservoir. This mysterious reservoir is actually hidden in the heart of a blue rock, known as the Ringwoodite, 700 km deep in the Earth’s mantle, that is to say the layer of burning rocks located between the surface of the Earth and its core. The impressive size of the tank three times the volume of the world’s oceans, could help to know a little more about the origin of water on Earth.
Indeed, some geologists believe that the water came to Earth following the impact of comets.
But this discovery is rather to bring credit to another theory that the oceans have gradually seeped from inside the Earth. “This is tangible proof that water on Earth came from the inside,” said Steven Jacobsen, of Northwestern University in Illinois, and lead author of the study. According to him, this hidden water could also be used to maintain the oceans, staying somehow connected to them. This would explain why their size has remained virtually unchanged for millions of years.
The path of the seismic waves reveals the presence of water. Steven Jacobsen’s team used no less than 2000 seismographs across the United States to study the seismic waves generated by over 500 earthquakes. These waves move inside the Earth, including the core. However, they can be widely detected at the surface. “After an earthquake, the waves are ringing the Earth like a bell for several days,” says Steven Jacobsen, echoed by the New Scientist. By measuring the speed of these waves, depending on the depth, the researchers were able to determine what type of rocks they crossed.
The water tank was thus revealed itself as idle when the waves have passed through the wet rock. Beforehand, Steven Jacobsen had determined what would happen if ringwoodites containing water is put in through seismic waves. For this, he developed synthetic ringwoodites in his laboratory before being exposed to pressures and high temperatures, similar to the coat, 700 km depth. “This tells us that if similar wet ringwoodites in the transition zone, we expect them to produce a liquid. And since the liquid transforms how seismic waves propagate, is a target that I can aim with a seismograph, “says Brandon Schmandt LiveScience, a seismologist at the University of New Mexico and co-author.
Result, scientists quickly found signs of ringwoodites in the transition zone between the upper mantle and lower mantle. At this depth, the pressure and temperature are high enough to extract water from the rocks. “This is a layer of rock with water along the edges between the grains, as if they were sweating,” explains the researcher. A beneficial reservoir These findings come from two researchers support a recent study by Graham Pearson of the University of Alberta. The scientist was able to study a diamond from the transition zone and brought to the surface through a volcano.
The result of research to prove that the oceans have much underground origin. Other tests will however be necessary to advance in this direction. The team Steven has so far been able to confirm that the tank was under the United States but it is difficult to determine how far it extends. Still, it is huge, that’s for sure.
He discovered that it contained water carriers ringwoodites. Its results were the first real evidence that a large volume of water was hidden in the transition zone. “We should rejoice in the presence of the reservoir. If he was not there, it would be on the surface of the Earth and the mountain peaks constitute the only visible earth “, says Steven Jacobsen. “The transition zone can contain a lot of water, perhaps the same amount that all the world’s oceans,” says Brandon Schmandt. “This study provides experimental support for the important role of the transition zone in controlling the flow of hydrogen on Earth,” says Graham Pearson. The research team now hopes to harvest other seismic data across the globe to determine whether the melting of the mantle is common or not. The results should also help scientists understand the water cycle on Earth. “The water from the surface we have now comes from outgassing of water from molten rock. How much water is always present within the Earth relative to the surface? “Asks Brandon Schmandt.
Join our list
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.