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Massive ocean 700km below earth's surface sparks global attention

Written by  Annesha Barua -- April 03rd 2024 05:43 PM
Massive ocean 700km below earth's surface sparks global attention

Massive ocean 700km below earth's surface sparks global attention

PTC News Desk: In the realm of scientific discoveries that astonish and intrigue, one recent revelation has sent shockwaves of fascination through the global community. Emerging from the depths of Earth's enigmatic geology is the revelation of a colossal ocean hidden beneath the planet's crust.

This extraordinary body of water lies an astonishing 700 kilometers beneath the Earth's surface, residing within a mineral called ringwoodite. Its existence, discovered through seismic analysis, unveils a subterranean reservoir that surpasses the combined volume of all surface oceans thrice over.

The genesis of this groundbreaking discovery can be traced back to meticulous research on seismic activity, where scientists observed peculiar shockwaves emanating from beneath the Earth's surface. Delving deeper into this anomaly led to the revelation of an extensive oceanic domain ensconced within the Earth's rocky layers. Detailed in a seminal 2014 scientific paper titled 'Dehydration melting at the top of the lower mantle', this revelation also shed light on the remarkable properties of ringwoodite.

Geophysicist Steve Jacobsen, a pivotal figure in this discovery, elucidated the unique characteristics of ringwoodite, likening it to a sponge with an unparalleled capacity to absorb water. "There is something very special about the crystal structure of ringwoodite that allows it to attract hydrogen and trap water," Jacobsen remarked, illuminating the mechanism behind this geological marvel. He further underscored the significance of this find, suggesting its implications for understanding Earth's water cycle and the abundance of liquid water on the planet's surface.

The journey towards this revelation was arduous, marked by meticulous analysis of seismic data and painstaking interpretation of geological phenomena. Through rigorous examination of earthquake patterns and the behaviour of seismometers, researchers pieced together the puzzle of this subterranean ocean. "The high water storage capacity of minerals in Earth's mantle transition zone (410- to 660-kilometer depth) implies the possibility of a deep H2O reservoir, which could cause dehydration melting of vertically flowing mantle," elucidated the scientists involved in this groundbreaking research.

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Their investigation unveiled the presence of intergranular melt in the transition zone, hinting at widespread hydration within this geological stratum. This observation led to the hypothesis that dehydration melting might serve as a mechanism for trapping water within the transition zone, offering insights into the intricate dynamics of Earth's subsurface processes.

In essence, the discovery of this vast subterranean ocean represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of Earth's geology and hydrology. It not only underscores the complexity of our planet's internal structure but also raises intriguing questions about the origin and evolution of Earth's water. As this revelation reverberates across the scientific community and captivates the public imagination, it serves as a poignant reminder of the boundless mysteries that lie beneath the surface of our seemingly familiar world.

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(Inputs from agencies)



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