There have been numerous questions about our planet and the solar system at large. Some say Earth is not round, some even say that the Earth may be hollow- but none of those has been proved with hard shreds of evidence yet. It’s all a big theory, a big mystery. But, we are sure to discover a whole lot about Earth and her neighbouring planets.
We’ve often wondered, maybe while sitting on a beach- where does this (the ocean) end? How big is the sea? Is it as vast as our we’ve heard in the stories? Is there something yet to be discovered? The water bodies of our planet and the depth of the ocean are still somewhat unknown.
Well, there is one thing that you do not have to worry about anymore. Scientists have found the answer to one of our questions: earth’s oceans just as vast as our geography textbooks say they are? The answer is gladly and undoubtedly a big fat NO!
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
We have all hoped that just like the movie Journey to the Centre of the Earth, we can find a little Earth, unexplored, untouched by humanity. Well, get excited because scientists have discovered a water reservoir that can fill the Earth’s oceans three times over! This massive hidden reservoir is hidden inside a blue rock known as RINGWOODITE (no secret about why it’s all blue out there).
RINGWOODITE – The Rock
This rock is found 700 kilometres underground in the mantle of the Earth. The mantle is the layer of hot rock between the Earth’s surface, and it’s core. The enormous size of the reservoir threw a new light on the Earth’s water bodies.
Water Arrived in Comets
Some geologists believed that water arrived in comets as they crashed into our planet. The alternate theory was that the oceans oozed out of the core of the early Earth over time.
In Evanston, Illinois, Steven Jacobsen of Northern University commented that “It’s good evidence the Earth’s water came from within.” It is proof that Earth’s water might have surfaced due to geological activity rather than some comets hitting the planet.
Jacobsen’s team used two thousand seismometers to study the seismic waves made by more than 500 earthquakes. The waves can be detected at the surface as they move throughout Earth’s interior as deep as the core. “They make the Earth ring which looks like a bell for days afterwards,” says Jacobsen.
Water in Earth's Core?
Jacobsen and his entire team have provided evidence that there’s water in the transition zone is the Earth’s mantle. He says “I think we finally see proof for a whole-Earth water cycle, which may help explain the vast quantity of liquid water on the cover of our livable planet.
Scientists have been studying for this missing deep water for decades.” The team figured this out by measuring the waves’ speed at various depths, the types of rock that the waves pass through. As the waves slowed down, the water layer revealed itself.
It takes quite a lot of time for the waves to pass through the wet rocks instead of dry rocks. Jacobsen exposed samples of ringwoodite that he grew in his lab to the tremendous pressure and different temperatures matching the environment down in the mantle.
Texture of the Rock
Through this experiment, they were able to find signs of wet ringwoodite present in the transition zone that is 700 kilometres down. At this depth, the environment is just enough to bring out the water contained inside ringwoodite.
Jacobsen says, “It’s water along the boundaries between the grains, almost as if they’re sweating. I mean, who wouldn’t? The heat, the pressure, the constant moving of the plates would make anything sweat.
Ringwoodite is like a sponge due to its crystal-like structure which attracts hydrogen and traps the water. Jacobsen says that if just 1% of the weight of mantle rock located in the transition zone were water, it would be equivalent to nearly three times the amount of water in our oceans.
Graham Pearson from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, supports the findings of Jacobsen. He found strong evidence of water in the transition zone when he acquired a diamond that came out of the volcano and found ringwoodite.
Now we have two different people claiming that there is water deep inside the Earth’s mantle. Both Jacobsen and Graham give us pretty strong evidence of water being present in ringwoodite crystal.
The evidence found by Jacobsen is just a watery rock that was found beneath the US. His mission now is to discover whether it wraps around the entire planet and if so, we must be grateful for it and make sure we use it wisely.