Since long scientists are continuously monitoring different minerals and elements present deep inside the Earth crust and their probable applications.
Water is one of the prime need for human being which is facing acute scarcity in today’s time. Hence researchers are working over its usage, prevention, storage and its sources.
Current study by Florida State University has shown that a mineral far below the Earth’s surface may be holding the key regarding how much water is stored in planet.
In the paper published this week in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, FSU Assistant Professor of Geology Mainak Mookherjee is reporting that water exists far deeper in the Earth then previously thought by scientists.
Deep Earth Water: Technical details
Mookherjee and Andreas Hermann from the University of Edinburgh is estimating that deep in the Earth about 300 to 400 km into the mantle water is stored and transported. It is done through a high pressure polymorph of the mineral brucite.
Previously scientists thought that brucite was not stable thermodynamically that deep in Earth. Mookherjee further adding says, “This opens up a Pandora’s Box for us. We didn’t think water could be stored by hydrous minerals such as brucite at these depths. But now that we know it’s there, we need to figure out how much water could be effectively stored inside it.”
Based on the high pressure experimental studies, scientists knows that minerals that transported water like brucite had limited stability. Because of that these minerals decomposed deep in the Earth. As they further decomposed, they released the water which is recycled back to the surface via volcanic activity.
This discovery of newer higher pressure phase of brucite is indicating that water could efficiently be transported over deeper realms without decomposition. Hermann says, “We had to do quantum-mechanical calculations on thousands of potential structures until we found the one we now reported. It really is remarkable that such a well-studied mineral as brucite has something so surprising to offer.”
Water: Important Component in Sustaining Geological Activity
Water is playing a critical role in sustaining geological activity below the Earth’s surface. Scientists have been working for years for quantifying the ocean’s worth of water which is laying hidden in the crust and mantle.
Mookherjee says, “For the activity of the planet, deep Earth water is equally important to water on the surface. My goal is to understand how much water is stored in the deep Earth. If the planet becomes dry on the inside, the planet dies because geodynamic activity within the planet ceases.”
Mookherjee and Hermann were planning for taking follow up on this paper with additional simulations for understanding better the physical properties of brucite at that particular depth. He will also try to decipher the amount of water which is potentially stored in the deep Earth along the cold-subduction zones.