A reservoir of water thrice the quantity of all of the oceans has been discovered deep beneath the Earth’s floor. The discovering may assist clarify the place Earth’s seas got here from.
The water is hidden inside a blue rock referred to as ringwoodite that lies 700 kilometres underground within the mantle, the layer of sizzling rock between Earth’s floor and its core.
The big dimension of the reservoir throws new gentle on the origin of Earth’s water. Some geologists suppose water arrived in comets as they struck the planet, however the brand new discovery helps an alternate concept that the oceans step by step oozed out of the inside of the early Earth.
“It’s good evidence the Earth’s water came from within,” says Steven Jacobsen of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The hidden water may additionally act as a buffer for the oceans on the floor, explaining why they’ve stayed the identical dimension for tens of millions of years.
Jacobsen’s workforce used 2000 seismometers to check the seismic waves generated by greater than 500 earthquakes. These waves transfer all through Earth’s inside, together with the core, and may be detected on the floor. “They make the Earth ring like a bell for days afterwards,” says Jacobsen.
By measuring the pace of the waves at totally different depths, the workforce may work out which sorts of rocks the waves had been passing by means of. The water layer revealed itself as a result of the waves slowed down, because it takes them longer to get by means of soggy rock than dry rock.
Jacobsen labored out prematurely what would occur to the waves if water-containing ringwoodite was current.