Huge ‘Ocean’ Discovered Inside Earth

Researchers who scanned the deep interior of the Earth discovered evidence of a huge water reservoir under eastern Asia in the Arctic Ocean. This is the first time such a vast body of water was found deep in the planet’s mantle.

Michael Wysession ( a seismologist at Washington University) together with his former student Jesse Lawrence ( from the University of California), were the ones who discovered these findings.

Researchers explored the Earth’s interior and found a vast reservoir of water that contains the same volume as the Arctic Ocean under eastern Asia.

On the left side of the picture, you can see a slice through the Earth taken from the right side of the picture. In addition, you can see the attenuation anomalies that occur inside the mantle at a depth of 620 miles.

Furthermore, on both sides of the picture the red represents weak, soft rock that is believed to be filled with water. While the blue represents unusual stiff rocks ( the white and yellow represent their average values).

Detailed Analysis

The researchers examined more than 600,000 seismograms or records of waves that earthquakes create when they travel through the planet.

Moreover, they used specific instruments to collect scattered data around the Earth.

During their expedition, they noticed a region under Asia where the readings seemed to dampen and slow down little by little. The water is the one that slows the wave’s speed, explained Wysession.

According to previously calculated predictions, if the cold slab of the ocean floor ever sank deep into our planet’s mantle, the hot temperature will force the water in the rocks to evaporate.

Therefore, the deeper the water inside the rocks sinks with the slab, the hotter it will become.

In fact, the rock will eventually become unstable and will lose all the water it contains, said  Wysession. As a result, the water will rise into the overlying region and will fill it up with water, as you can see in the picture below.

However, it will still look like a normal solid rock to anyone who lays eyes on it. The only way to find out if it contains water is to take the sample to a lab and study it, Wysession added.

Even though the rook may seem solid, its composition is actually 15% water.

This is normal for many ocean floor rocks. The water molecules are stuck to the mineral structure of the ocean floor rock, said Wysession.

Therefore, when the water starts to heat up, it will eventually evaporate and dehydrate.

According to the pair, 0.1% of all the rocks that are sinking into the planet’s mantle in this particular part of the world, is water.

In other words, this is a vast amount of water that contains about the same worth of water as the Arctic Ocean.

Beijing Anomaly

Wysession named this newly discovered beneath the surface of the ground – feature, the  “Beijing anomaly.”

The reason why he added Beijing to the name was that he found seismic wave attenuation to be the highest under the capital city of China.

Furthermore, Wysession said that China was very interested in his project, especially since they are very interested in seismology. After all, they are under the biggest seismic risk than any other country.

So, it is understandable where the interest comes from.

Comparing to Other Planets

Water covers 70% of our planet’s surface. Therefore, its surface serves as a lubricant for assisting the movement of continental planets.

If we take Venus, for example, said Wysession, it is a very hot and dry planet without plate tectonics.

In addition, all the water the planet used to have, probably boiled off at some point. In the end, it left the planet with no plates.

Source: Body Mind Soul Spirit