Since mankind started taking nature for granted, it has witnessed a scarcity of resources, especially water. While the world has always fought for water on the planet’s surface, scientists have recently discovered an “ocean” of water beneath the planet’s surface., as per an international study. 

The huge ocean is three times the volume of all the oceans on the Earth’s surface. This massive reservoir of water is located between the transition zone of the upper and lower mantle of the Earth. 

 

Does The Earth’s Water Cycle Include The Interior Too?

 

A rate diamond created 660 meters beneath the Earth’s surface was analyzed by the research team with the help of techniques like FTIR spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy.

 

The study indicates that the planet’s water cycle not only consists of the water on and above the surface but also involves the Earth’s interior.

 

Prof. Frank Brenker from the Institute for Geosciences at Goethe University in Frankfurt stated that “These mineral transformations greatly hinder the movements of rock in the mantle.” 

 

“Subducting plates often have difficulty in breaking through the entire transition zone. So there is a whole graveyard of such plates in this zone underneath Europe,” he added.

 

It is important to note that until now the effects of “sucking” material into the transition zone were on its geochemical composition. Also, if larger quantities of water were present there or not was also unknown. “The subducting slabs also carry deep-sea sediments piggyback into the Earth’s interior. These sediments can hold large quantities of water and CO2. But until now it was unclear just how much enters the transition zone in the form of more stable, hydrous minerals and carbonates — and it was therefore also unclear whether large quantities of water really are stored there,” Brenker further explained.

 

The ongoing situations would certainly make that possible. The polymorphs wadsleyite and ringwoodite are able to store huge quantities of water. The quantities of water can be so large that the transition zone would be capable of absorbing six times the quantity of water in our oceans. “So we knew that the boundary layer has an enormous capacity for storing water. However, we didn’t know whether it actually did so,” explained Brenker. 

 

Prof. Frank Brenker was a part of an international study that has finally solved the mystery. The study involved analyzing a diamond from Botswana, Africa. The diamond was formed 660 kilometers beneath the Earth, at the interface between the lower mantle and the transition zone, right at the place where ringwoodite is the mineral present. 

 

Interestingly, diamonds belonging to this region are extremely rare. The analyses stated that the stone has numerous ringwoodite inclusions which display a high water content. Additionally, the research group could also determine the stone’s chemical composition. The chemical composition was exactly the same as that of the mantle rock located in the basalts. This showcased that the diamond has come from a regular piece of the Earth’s mantle.  “In this study, we have demonstrated that the transition zone is not a dry sponge, but holds considerable quantities of water,” Brenker stated. 

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