Scientists have discovered a huge “ocean” near the center of the Earth

Scientists Discover Massive
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Scientists have discovered a huge 'ocean' near the center of the Earth

High water content in the transition zone has far-reaching consequences (representative image).

According to an international study, scientists have discovered a reservoir of water three times the volume of all the oceans beneath the Earth’s surface. Water is found in the transition zone between the Earth’s upper and lower mantle. The research team analyzed a rate diamond 660 meters below the Earth’s surface using techniques including Raman spectroscopy and FTIR spectrometry, ANI reported.

The research confirmed something that for a long time was just a theory, such as seawater subducting the slabs and thus entering the transition zone. This means that our planet’s water cycle includes Earth’s interior.

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

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

However, until now it is not known whether the long-term effects of the “sucking” material in the transition zone are on its geochemical composition and whether abundant water existed there. Brenker explains: “Subducting slabs also carry deep-sea sediments into the Earth’s interior. These sediments can hold 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 a large amount of water stored there.”

The existing situation must be conducive to it. The dense minerals wadislate and ringwoodite (as opposed to 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 has a huge capacity to store water,” Brenker said. “However, we didn’t know if it actually did that.”

An international study involving Frankfurt geoscientists has now provided answers. The research team analyzed a diamond from Botswana, Africa. It formed at a depth of 660 km, right at the interface between the transition zone and the lower mantle, where ringwoodite is the predominant mineral. Diamonds from this region are very rare, even among the rarest diamonds of ultra-deep origin, which are only one percent of diamonds. Analyzes revealed that the rock contained numerous ringwoodite inclusions — indicating a high water content. Furthermore, the research team was able to determine the chemical composition of the rock. It was similar to virtually every fragment of mantle rock found in basalt anywhere in the world. This shows that the diamond must have come from a common part of the Earth’s mantle. “In this study, we have shown that the transition zone is not a dry sponge, but contains a considerable amount of water,” says Brenker, adding: “This brings us one step closer to Jules Verne’s idea of ​​an oceanic Earth.” The difference is that there is no ocean, but watery rock, which, according to Brenker, will not feel wet or dripping water.

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