Massive underground reservoirs discovered may be three times the size of Earth's oceans
"Melting of rock at this depth is remarkable because most melting in the mantle occurs much shallower, in the upper 50 miles," said Schmandt. "If there is a substantial amount of H2O in the transition zone, then some melting should take place in areas where there is flow into the lower mantle, and that is consistent with what we found." If just one percent of the weight of mantle rock located in the transition zone is H2O, that would be equivalent to nearly three times the amount of water in our oceans. This water is not in a form familiar to us - it is not liquid, ice or vapour. This fourth form is water trapped inside the molecular structure of the minerals in the mantle rock. The weight of 250 miles of solid rock creates such high pressure, along with temperatures above 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, that a water molecule splits to form a hydroxyl radical (OH), which can be bound into a mineral's crystal structure. Schmandt and Jacobsen's findings build on a discovery in which scientists found a piece of the mineral ringwoodite inside a diamond brought up from a depth of 400 miles by a volcano in Brazil. That tiny piece of ringwoodite - the only sample in existence from within the Earth - contained a surprising amount of water bound in solid form in the mineral.
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A massive reservoir of water three times the size of Earth's oceans have for the first time been located hundreds of miles underneath the surface of the planet. Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of New Mexico provided the first ever evidence for potentially oceans worth of water deep beneath the United States.
Found! Hidden Ocean Locked Up Deep in Earth's Mantle By Joseph Castro, Live Science Contributor June 12, 2014 02:00pm ET Earth's surface oceans are quite apparent, even from satellite images of our blue marble, but now scientists have found oceans' worth of water are hidden deep in Earth's mantle, locked up in a mineral called ringwoodite.
( via timesofindia.indiatimes.com )
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