Group of researchers scanning the deep interior of Earth have found evidence of a vast water reservoir beneath eastern Asia that is at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean.
Water occupies around 70% of the Earth’s surface, while quite a big part of it lies also inside our planet. Recent studies suggest the oceans of waters lie 620 miles below the surface. If this storage of water disappears, the geodynamic activity that causes volcanoes – which are important for generating soil and sustaining life on the planet – would cease.
According to the first study conducted by Florida State University and the University of Edinburgh the water underneath the earth is stored much deeper than it was thought before and is kept in a mineral called brucite. The certain amount of water is unknown, however scientists believe it could account for 1.5 % of the weight of the planet. Mainak Mookherjee, who led the study, said: ‘We didn’t think water could be stored by hydrous minerals such as brucite at these depths. But now that we know it’s there, we need to figure out how much water could be effectively stored inside it.’
The second study however, conducted by researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois offers a theory that this water is much deeper than any seen before and reaches the third of the way to the edge of the earth’s core.
A 90 million old diamond was found by researchers near the Sao Luiz river in Juina, Brazul which had an imperfection containing minerals which got trapped inside the diamond’s formation. After microscope investigation scientists revealed the presence of hydroxyl ions which naturally come from water. And due to the imperfections present in the diamond there is a suggestion that it was formed in the lower mantle.
Steve Jacobsen, who led the study, said: ‘This is the deepest evidence for water recycling on the planet. The big take-home message is that the water cycle on Earth is bigger than we ever thought, extending into the deep mantle.’ Water is the most significant element in sustaining the geological activity below earth’s surface.
Dr Mookherjee told MailOnline: ‘Water in the Earth’s interior is crucial since it helps in mantle convection – a process by which solid rocks move from hotter to colder regions over geological time scales.
‘Volcanoes play an important role in generating the Earth’s crust on which we live. So if volcanic activity ceases then the crust formation will also stop and the planetary activities will eventually stop.’
The researchers who conducted the different studies are in agreement about the crucial role played by water in sustaining geological activity under the surface of our planet. According to Dr. Mookherjee, mantle convection would eventually stop without the presence of water in the Earth’s interiors. In plain terms, this means that without water, eventually volcanoes would cease to occur. Consequently, crust formation and planetary activities will cease, which does not mean well for the future of life on Earth.