Strange rock suggests substantial water reservoirs deep within the Earth

By on June 26, 2014

Blue ringwoodite crystal grown in a laboratory (Credit: Jasperox, via Wikimedia Commons)

Deep reservoirs beneath North America may hold as much water as the world’s oceans and could be the subterranean source of those seas, according to the Washington Post.

A mysterious ringwoodite crystal, only capable of forming under incredible pressure, provided the first clues to researchers. The stone surfaced in a Brazilian diamond mine, despite being born 325 miles within the Earth’s mantle. Scientists found that it was made of 1.5 percent water — soaking wet in terms of mineral composition.

The “transitional zone” in the mantle where ringwoodite originates is likely saturated with water as well. If even 1 percent is made up of water, it would still triple the amount of water stored on the Earth’s surface.

Image: Blue ringwoodite crystal grown in a laboratory (Credit: Jasperox, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

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