Scientists Discover Massive “Ocean” Near Earth’s Core

The high water content of the transition zone has far-reaching consequences (representative image).

Scientists have discovered a reservoir of water three times the size of all the oceans beneath the Earth’s surface, an international study has revealed. Water is found in the transition zone between the Earth’s upper and lower mantle. The research team used the techniques of Raman spectroscopy and FTIR spectrometry to analyze the rate diamond formed 660 meters below the Earth’s surface, ANI reported.

The study confirmed that for a long time it was only a theory, that sea water comes under the slab and thus enters the transition zone. This means that our planet’s water cycle includes the Earth’s interior.

“These mineral transformations greatly hinder rock movements in the mantle,” Prof. of the Institute for Geosciences at Goethe University in Frankfurt. Frank Brenker explains. For example, mantle plumes — columns of hot rock rising from the deep mantle — sometimes stop directly below the transition zone. Movement of mass in the opposite direction also stops.

“Subducting plates often have trouble breaking through the entire transition zone. So there’s a whole graveyard of such plates in this zone beneath Europa,” says Brenker.

However, it was not known until now what the long-term effects of “absorbing” material in the transition zone were on its geochemical composition and whether bulk water existed there. Brenker explains: “Subducting slabs also transport deep-sea sediments into the Earth’s interior. These sediments can contain large amounts of water and CO2. But until now it was not clear how much enters the transition zone in more stable forms, hydrous minerals and carbonates — and so It was also unclear whether there was actually a large amount of water stored there.”

The prevailing situation will definitely be favorable for that. The dense minerals wadsleyite and ringwoodite (unlike olivine at shallower depths) can store large amounts of water—so large, in fact, that the transition zone would theoretically be able to absorb six times as much water as our oceans. “So we knew that the boundary layer had enormous water storage potential,” says Brenker. “However, we didn’t know if it actually did.”

An international study involving a Frankfurt geologist has now provided the answer. The research team analyzed a diamond from Botswana, Africa. It was formed at a depth of 660 km between the transition zone and the lower mantle, where ringwoodite is the predominant mineral. Diamonds from this region are extremely rare, even among the rarest diamonds of ultra-deep origin, which account for only one percent of diamonds. Analysis revealed that the stone contained numerous ringwoodites — high in water content. Furthermore, the research team was able to determine the chemical composition of the stone. It was similar to virtually every piece of mantle rock found in basalt anywhere in the world. This showed that the diamond definitely came from a normal piece of the Earth’s mantle. “In this study, we have shown that the transition zone is not a dry sponge, but contains a large amount of water,” says Brenker, “This brings us one step closer to Jules Verne’s idea of ​​an ocean inside the Earth. ” The difference is that there is no ocean below. , but is a hydrous rock, which, according to Brenker, does not feel wet or drop water.

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