Researchers found a sixth ocean living in the depths of the Earth, where no water was thought possible.
We have learned that the structure of our planet is reduced to the core, the mantle, and the crust, but complexity pervades every layer of the Earth, but there are many secrets that we still haven’t unveiled. Previously there were suspicions that water might exist deep in the asthenosphere, although it was thought not to be in a liquid state. However, recent research has just uncovered the possibility of a sixth ocean in the depths of the Earth, so vast that it would be one of the largest sources of water on the planet.
The water cycle also includes the deep sea
The water cycle is one of the best-known cycles taught in schools as an essential functional part of the planet, but contradictorily not much is known about it in regions beyond the Earth’s crust. The deepest water well is approximately 12 kilometers deep, which is not enough to investigate whether a water cycle exists below this limit.
That is why researchers have invested great efforts to learn more about it and surprisingly, an investigation showed that there may be not only a water cycle in the mantle of the Earth, but it would be so impressive that underneath in the depths lives the sixth ocean.
There are several investigations in this regard, there are even some that say that before having continental masses, our planet was covered entirely by water. But then the crust absorbed part of it, giving shape to the configuration we know today. Although such a hypothesis would imply that such a quantity of water had to have ended up somewhere; they believe that it escaped to the inner layers of the Earth.
A sixth ocean in the bowels of the planet
In search of further evidence, a team of researchers from Goethe University set out to analyze an extremely rare diamond that formed at a depth of 660 meters in the country of Botswana.
The diamond was obtained in a region where ringwoodite is the predominant mineral and using FTIR spectrometry, it was concluded that it has a “high water content.” It was also determined that the chemical composition of the stone is “almost exactly the same as that of virtually all mantle rock fragments found in basalts anywhere in the world.”
[Photos: Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main]
These data indicate that the water cycle also includes very deep parts of the planet. The key to it all lies in the region from which the diamond originates, the transition between the lower crust and the upper mantle, which lies between 410 and 660 kilometers above the surface.
Here most of the composition is given by minerals such as olivine, peridot, wadsleyite, and ringwoodite, which are characterized by their large water storage capacities. Researchers have estimated that theoretically, the transition zone rock “could absorb six times the amount of water in our oceans.” Thus, there has been talking of the existence of a sixth ocean that lies deep within the Earth, just as Jules Verne put it in his Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura ColectivaPodría interesarte