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A Gigantic Ocean 700 km under the Earth Discovered by Scientists

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 08-04-2024
A Gigantic Ocean 700 km under the Earth Discovered by Scientists Science and Technology 4 min read

The scientific community has been buzzing about an incredible discovery recently - a massive ocean hidden deep beneath the Earth's crust. This subterranean reservoir is located 700 kilometers below the surface of the Earth in a rock called ringwoodite. 

It is believed that the reservoir is three times the volume of all the Earth’s surface oceans combined.

About the discovery

  • This discovery was made possible by using a network of 2000 seismographs across the United States. 
  • These devices detected seismic waves produced by over 500 earthquakes, which slowed down upon interacting with moist rock in the Earth's core, indicating the presence of this vast water repository.
  • The properties of a mineral called ringwoodite have been detailed in a scientific paper published in 2014. 
  • The paper, titled 'Dehydration melting at the top of the lower mantle', explains how ringwoodite can absorb water due to its sponge-like structure. This mineral has a unique crystal structure that allows it to attract hydrogen and trap water.
  • According to Steven Jacobsen, a researcher at Northwestern University who led the scientific endeavor behind this revelation, the underground ocean provides significant evidence to support the idea that Earth's water originated internally. 
  • This discovery has the potential to reshape our understanding of Earth's water cycle and offers new perspectives on one of the planet's fundamental processes.
  • Jacobsen stresses the importance of this underground ocean, highlighting its role in maintaining water beneath Earth's surface. 
  • Without it, water would predominantly reside on the planet's surface, leaving only mountain peaks visible. The researchers are now eager to collect more seismic data globally to confirm the prevalence of mantle melting. This discovery holds the promise of revolutionizing our comprehension of Earth's water cycle.
  • Scientists have discovered a possibility of a deep H2O reservoir in Earth's mantle transition zone, which can cause dehydration and melting of vertically flowing mantle. 
  • The high water storage capacity of minerals in this zone indicates the presence of a vast region that is hydrated, and dehydration melting can act to trap H2O in the transition zone.  
  • To investigate the impact of downwelling from the transition zone to the lower mantle, scientists conducted high-pressure laboratory experiments, numerical modeling, and seismic P-to-S conversions. They discovered the presence of intergranular melt in the transition zone.


Answer: 700 KM

Answer: Ringwoodite
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