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Fri Jun 13, 2014, 08:24 AM

Earth May Have Underground 'Ocean' Three Times That on Surface

Last edited Fri Jun 13, 2014, 09:52 AM - Edit history (1)

Source: The Guardian

Earth may have underground 'ocean' three times that on surface

Scientists say rock layer hundreds of miles down holds vast amount of water, opening up new theories on how planet formed


Melissa Davey
Thursday 12 June 2014 23.53 EDT

After decades of searching scientists have discovered that a vast reservoir of water, enough to fill the Earth’s oceans three times over, may be trapped hundreds of miles beneath the surface, potentially transforming our understanding of how the planet was formed.

The water is locked up in a mineral called ringwoodite about 660km (400 miles) beneath the crust of the Earth, researchers say. Geophysicist Steve Jacobsen from Northwestern University in the US co-authored the study published in the journal Science and said the discovery suggested Earth’s water may have come from within, driven to the surface by geological activity, rather than being deposited by icy comets hitting the forming planet as held by the prevailing theories.

“Geological processes on the Earth’s surface, such as earthquakes or erupting volcanoes, are an expression of what is going on inside the Earth, out of our sight,” Jacobsen said.

“I think we are finally seeing evidence for a whole-Earth water cycle, which may help explain the vast amount of liquid water on the surface of our habitable planet. Scientists have been looking for this missing deep water for decades.”

Jacobsen and his colleagues are the first to provide direct evidence that there may be water in an area of the Earth’s mantle known as the transition zone. They based their findings on a study of a vast underground region extending across most of the interior of the US.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jun/13/earth-may-have-underground-ocean-three-times-that-on-surface

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Arrow 53 replies Author Time Post
Reply Earth May Have Underground 'Ocean' Three Times That on Surface (Original post)
Hissyspit Jun 2014 OP
heaven05 Jun 2014 #1
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Jun 2014 #3
heaven05 Jun 2014 #22
SkyDaddy7 Jun 2014 #33
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Jun 2014 #35
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Jun 2014 #36
enlightenment Jun 2014 #38
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Jun 2014 #39
enlightenment Jun 2014 #43
SkyDaddy7 Jun 2014 #42
jwirr Jun 2014 #23
Bosonic Jun 2014 #2
Android3.14 Jun 2014 #4
Maedhros Jun 2014 #40
tomm2thumbs Jun 2014 #5
BootinUp Jun 2014 #6
tomm2thumbs Jun 2014 #7
MFM008 Jun 2014 #53
randome Jun 2014 #8
Baitball Blogger Jun 2014 #9
HuskyOffset Jun 2014 #10
LisaLynne Jun 2014 #15
Arugula Latte Jun 2014 #50
yellowcanine Jun 2014 #11
davidpdx Jun 2014 #16
yellowcanine Jun 2014 #18
Arugula Latte Jun 2014 #51
packman Jun 2014 #19
griloco Jun 2014 #20
Swede Atlanta Jun 2014 #12
yellowcanine Jun 2014 #14
phantom power Jun 2014 #13
NickB79 Jun 2014 #45
SoapBox Jun 2014 #17
toby jo Jun 2014 #21
HelenWheels Jun 2014 #24
PeoViejo Jun 2014 #25
paleotn Jun 2014 #26
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Jun 2014 #32
randome Jun 2014 #34
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Jun 2014 #37
Maedhros Jun 2014 #41
Inkfreak Jun 2014 #27
FiveGoodMen Jun 2014 #29
Inkfreak Jun 2014 #28
JackRiddler Jun 2014 #30
tofuandbeer Jun 2014 #31
defacto7 Jun 2014 #44
roamer65 Jun 2014 #46
PFunk Jun 2014 #47
Hekate Jun 2014 #48
Raphael Campos Jun 2014 #49
MisterP Jun 2014 #52

Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 08:30 AM

1. ohhh good!

 

more water to poison and use for fracking.

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 08:55 AM

3. Well, yes and no.

It's not really water til it gets up here. Ringwoodite, the mineral mentioned, can include hydroxide (OH) ions, and is stable at high pressures found deep in the crust. So there aren't actually 'oceans' down there, just lots of bound up oxygen and hydrogen. It's oceans 'worth' of hydrogen and oxygen down there, not actual H2O. So no lost Atlantis either

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #3)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 11:00 AM

22. geez!

 

I wanted to see Atlantis rise again.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #3)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 01:35 PM

33. Thank-you!!

For the explanation...Still trying to understand why they say "water" because even before you mentioned there were no "oceans" I knew that but I don't understand why researchers are calling this "missing water" when it is simply Oxygen & Hydrogen but that is not water. If this Ringwoodite, the mineral mentioned just a sign that water once existed or would there be water if the mineral was to be brought to the surface somehow?

Forgive my ignorance...Thanks.

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Response to SkyDaddy7 (Reply #33)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 01:58 PM

35. Minerals are only 'stable' within specific

pressure and temperature regimes. If I take a chunk of carbon, stable here at 1 atmosphere of pressure and room temperature, and put it under a ton of pressure and heat, I can change its structure to turn it into diamond. And this can happen quickly. Going in the other direction, from high to low pressures, that diamond will only degrade very slowly. If I put it in a mix with several other minerals and do the same thing, they'll shuffle themselves around to try and find the arrangement in which they're most stable, and swap out elements to form new minerals. In the crust, that means you wind up with a lot of olivine and spinel like minerals.

Bring them up to the surface, and they'll start interacting with various liquids and gases and be weathered - sometimes into new minerals, although in many cases simply mechanically changed, not chemically, into smaller pieces. Sandstone is mainly just a bunch of compacted smaller pieces of quartz. But throw iron up onto the surface, and it will oxidize over time.

I'm not familiar with ringwoodite structure specifically, but how easily you could break free that hydroxide depends upon how it's attached to the rest of the structure. (And now you've got me wondering if my 20 or so year old 'encyclopedia of mineralogy' even has ringwoodite listed in it...) At any rate, it's certainly possible that the water currently on the surface of the earth actually came from ringwoodite forced up to the surface via tectonic and volcanic processes, and all of those hydroxides chemically shifting at low temps and pressures into water. (the bonds in water are fairly weak - that's why you can do experiments in grade school where you use electricity to break water apart into oxygen and hydrogen.) If so, that puts forward a very intriguing view of the evolution of the planetary surface.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #35)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 01:59 PM

36. (btw, 'a ton of pressure'

was not an actual measurement, just a euphemism for a 'lot'.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #35)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 02:55 PM

38. Thank you for the explanation

I was also trying to wrap my head around it.

It is fascinating information.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #38)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 03:06 PM

39. Well,

I haven't actually done anything geology-related since the end of the last millennium, so I hope I didn't mangle my attempt to present a simplified version of things too badly

I finished up the degree, then instantly moved into another field...

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #39)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 03:44 PM

43. Truth be told?

I'm an historian (so really, I wouldn't know if you mangled it). It sounded clear enough to me that I could make a passable attempt at explaining it to someone else, which is my criteria for a useful simplified explanation!

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #35)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 03:22 PM

42. Thanks again...If

You happen to be a Father then Happy Father's Day...If not, have good weekend!! And thanks again I really find that stuff fascinating...I don't fully understand all of it but I know enough for it to be interesting!

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 11:04 AM

23. That was my thought - how deep do we drill for oil already? I also thought of the hot springs in

various areas. And Old Faithful. Connected - who knows.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 08:31 AM

2. I forsee many Hollow Earth/Atlantis mashup articles coming from this

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 09:00 AM

4. Not theories, hypothesis

 

The research did not find water. In the lede of the article, note the word "may". We don't have any holes that reach 400 miles. What he has is a hypothesis and a piece of corroborating evidence based on seismometer data and lab experiments using rock under high pressure.

This has a long way to go before it reaches anything like a scientific theory.

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #4)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 03:13 PM

40. There is hard evidence, though, for this idea:

 

http://www.livescience.com/44057-diamond-inclusions-mantle-water-earth.html

A battered diamond that survived a trip from "hell" confirms a long-held theory: Earth's mantle holds an ocean's worth of water.

"It's actually the confirmation that there is a very, very large amount of water that's trapped in a really distinct layer in the deep Earth," said Graham Pearson, lead study author and a geochemist at the University of Alberta in Canada. The findings were published today (March 12) in the journal Nature.

The worthless-looking diamond encloses a tiny piece of an olivine mineral called ringwoodite, and it's the first time the mineral has been found on Earth's surface in anything other than meteorites or laboratories. Ringwoodite only forms under extreme pressure, such as the crushing load about 320 miles (515 kilometers) deep in the mantle.


Exciting stuff - I studied in the U of A lab from 1991 - 1995.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 09:03 AM

5. maybe part of it is like journey to the center of the earth

only better..

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Response to tomm2thumbs (Reply #5)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 09:14 AM

6. Jules Verne had an amazing imagination.

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Response to BootinUp (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 09:18 AM

7. I can imagine people of his day flocking to get his books and being blown away by it all


Yup, you are right and it holds up today

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Response to tomm2thumbs (Reply #5)

Sun Jun 15, 2014, 05:28 PM

53. This is exactly what I was thing of to

The Sagnussum ocean from one of my favorite movies as a kid.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 09:22 AM

8. Drill, baby, drill!

 

[hr][font color="blue"][center]Stop looking for heroes. BE one.[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 09:42 AM

9. Well, there goes the dreams of those who believe they can control the water market.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 09:48 AM

10. Silly libtards...

...and your "science". It's obviously the water from the Great Flood. God's just storing it down there in case He needs it for something, like cooling the earth down from global warming, which doesn't exist. Or drowning Satan, who is very real. Read the Bible.














*This post is sarcasm.

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Response to HuskyOffset (Reply #10)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 10:06 AM

15. Drowning satan!

+1 for that comment.

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Response to HuskyOffset (Reply #10)

Sun Jun 15, 2014, 01:53 PM

50. Funny how that omnipotent deity

 

gets jerked around by this guy , huh?

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 09:49 AM

11. Uh Oh. This will send the fundy Noah's flood folks into a tizzy. "Fountains of the deep" baby!

That's what I'm talkin' about! TIME!

Genesis 7:11
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #11)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 10:09 AM

16. Maybe we can send them all fundies underground to look for these fountains

They can go there on their way to hell.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #16)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 10:24 AM

18. One does have to cross the River Styx to get to Hades....

Maybe if one goes up the River Styx you get to the fountains?
But of course one has to be dead to get on the river at all I believe.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #16)

Sun Jun 15, 2014, 01:54 PM

51. and Kirk Cameron shall lead them

 

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #11)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 10:41 AM

19. Damn, you beat me to it

Those Bronze Age guys sitting in caves writting that shit knew, just knew I tell you, about all the fountains of the great deep.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #11)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 10:56 AM

20. Windows?

Last edited Sat Jun 14, 2014, 02:44 AM - Edit history (1)

Heaven has windows? As a loyal little I must inform Mr. Tony.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 09:51 AM

12. Very interesting.........

 

Republicans will deny it to be true because the Bible doesn't say anything about a hidden buried ocean in Genesis.

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Response to Swede Atlanta (Reply #12)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 10:02 AM

14. Actually there is a reference in the Bible.......

Genesis 7:11
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

Fundies will seize on this, count on it.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 09:54 AM

13. Interesting, there's a book based on this theory

Where that water leaks to the surface:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_(Baxter_novel)

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Response to phantom power (Reply #13)

Sat Jun 14, 2014, 07:00 AM

45. Baxter's work is amazing

One of my all-time favorite authors.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 10:20 AM

17. Ya...more to pollute!

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 11:00 AM

21. New theories - cool.

 

btw, what else are they looking for that most of us haven't yet conceived?

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 11:07 AM

24. Fiction

I'm reading a fiction book about this. The scientists get trapped by the underground ocean that has a man eating monster in it.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 11:18 AM

25. I bet the Water will be Hot.

 

..more like high-pressure Steam. Water of Hydration can be easily driven off by heat. All that needs to be done is lower the pressure being applied to the mineral holding it.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 11:31 AM

26. before you get your hopes up, folks....

....that there's some great, hidden ocean down there, ringwoodite does not hold liquid water within its structure, but hydroxide ions. Shave off one of the H atoms in normal H2O and you have hydroxide, HO. If it picks up a H+ cation, than bingo, H2O.

This is interesting though. Some of the relatively recent findings, blurring of the lines between comets and asteroids (most may be a combination of both) suggests that water was present throughout the formation of Earth, thus beginning a more geologically based water cycle we're just beginning to understand.

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Response to paleotn (Reply #26)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 01:16 PM

32. Just reading most of the comments in this thread

it's a great example of how journalism misunderstands science and transmits it in a mangled form that misleads the public as to what the original science is actually saying. They keep saying 'water' and 'ocean', and the casual reader instantly goes to thinking they're saying underground rivers and giant, water-filled caverns.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #32)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 01:45 PM

34. You just need to BELIEVE, Erich! Believe in Pellucidar!

 

[hr][font color="blue"][center]The truth doesn’t always set you free.
Sometimes it builds a bigger cage around the one you’re already in.
[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to randome (Reply #34)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 02:01 PM

37. Heh.

I think my geology doctoral advisor would disown me and demand my doctorate back if I did

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #32)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 03:19 PM

41. Minerals behave very strangely at 2-4 GPa pressures.

 

The water is literally dissolved in the mantle minerals, which is a hard concept to envision - we usually think of solids being dissolved in water, not the other way around.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 11:59 AM

27. Interesting that we explore & seemingly "know" more about space than our own planet. (nt)

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Response to Inkfreak (Reply #27)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 12:45 PM

29. It's a whole lot easier to look at or travel to space

than it is to get deep inside the planet.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)


Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 12:50 PM

30. Love this. So much more compelling...

 

Than the comet theory. Though I always have a preference for phenomena that arise from endogenous processes rather than non-sequitur exogenous disruptive events. (That's why it took me a long time to allow that the asteroid got the dinosaurs, rather than their own success in over-exploiting their own habitat. The latter being a kind of anthropomorphic tale, I know.)

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 12:58 PM

31. Surf's up! ...er, down.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Fri Jun 13, 2014, 04:38 PM

44. It certainly is

an OMG moment for me.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Sat Jun 14, 2014, 09:45 AM

46. Our planet formed in the habitable zone of our star.

Water can exist in its three forms within that zone...solid, liquid and gaseous within that zone. I never really believed comet impacts could have created our oceans.

Not surprised on hearing this story and it really makes sense.

Gives us hope that there are other planets out there like ours.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Sat Jun 14, 2014, 11:19 AM

47. Nice.

Stephen Baxter's Flood anyone.

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Sat Jun 14, 2014, 03:51 PM

48. Fascinating. KnR to read later

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Response to Hissyspit (Original post)

Sat Jun 14, 2014, 06:59 PM

49. See? Genesis was right!

 

There IS water down there!

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Response to Raphael Campos (Reply #49)

Sun Jun 15, 2014, 02:22 PM

52. when the sun was shining, yes and the stars were bright all through the night

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