Researchers have long suspected that there is a massive water reservoir deep within the Earth. Now, that theory has been confirmed.
The scientists studied a part of the mantle called the transition zone, from 300 to 440 miles deep to understand:
- Ability of this zone to contain water and apparently to retain a lot of it.
- They done analysis of seismic waves passing through the deep earth appears to confirm that an ocean of water is tied up in the mantle (the 1,800-mile-thick layer between the thin crust and the hot metallic core), 400 miles below the surface.
- The water is not liquid, but rather bound in minerals that exist at the extreme pressures found at such depths.
- Processes that occur in the shallower mantle and that cause volcanoes and related activity at the surface are also occurring farther down.
- The earth’s water accumulated in the interior during the planet’s formation, rather than arriving later through the bombardment of icy comets.
- Water bound up in minerals in the mantle, degassed over time and reached the surface.
- Brandon Schmandt analysed seismic data from the US Array project, in which 400 mobile seismometers have been deployed across the US to create high-resolution images of the mantle. The analysis showed signs of melting in the transition zone, in areas where convection was causing the mantle to flow downward.
- Melting of the mantle occurs close to the surface, creating the magma that is responsible for volcanic hot spots around the world. The process is called dehydration melting, because as parts of the mantle slide deeper at places where the earth’s tectonic plates meet, the increasing pressure causes minerals in the mantle to release their water, lowering the melting temperature.
Other study supported this claim:
- A commercially worthless diamond found in Brazil contained ringwoodite that entrapped water amounting to more than 1 % of its weight.
- Ringwoodite attracts hydrogen and that it’s capable of absorbing water much like a sponge.
- Ringwoodite has been found in meteorites, but this was the first terrestrial sample because it normally is so deeply buried.
But some Geologist and Mineralogist argue that:
- The weight of hundreds of kilometers of rock and very high temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 Fahrenheit) break down water into its components. And it’s not accessible. It’s not a resource in any way.