Huge 'Ocean' Discovered Inside Earth

Scientists 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. The discovery marks the first time such a large body of water has found in the planet's deep mantle. [The World's Biggest Oceans and Seas] The finding, made by Michael Wysession, a seismologist at Washington University in St. Louis, and his former graduate student Jesse Lawrence, now at the University of California, San Diego, will be detailed in a forthcoming monograph to be published by the American Geophysical Union.

Scientists probing the Earth's interior have found a large reservoir of water equal to the volume of the Arctic Ocean beneath eastern Asia. The left figure is a slice through the Earth, taken from the figure on the right, showing the attenuation anomalies within the mantle at a depth of roughly 620 miles. In both images, red shows unusually soft and weak rock believed to be saturated with water, and the blue shows unusually stiff rock (yellow and white show near-average values)

Looking down deep

The pair analyzed more than 600,000 seismograms — records of waves generated by earthquakes traveling through the Earth—collected from instruments scattered around the planet. They noticed a region beneath Asia where seismic waves appeared to dampen, or "attenuate," and also slow down slightly. "Water slows the speed of waves a little," Wysession explained. "Lots of damping and a little slowing match the predictions for water very well." Previous predictions calculated that if a cold slab of the ocean floor were to sink thousands of miles into the Earth's mantle, the hot temperatures would cause water stored inside the rock to evaporate out. "That is exactly what we show here," Wysession said. "Water inside the rock goes down with the sinking slab and it's quite cold, but it heats up the deeper it goes, and the rock eventually becomes unstable and loses its water." The water then rises up into the overlying region, which becomes saturated with water [image]. "It would still look like solid rock to you,” Wysession told LiveScience. "You would have to put it in the lab to find the water in it." Although they appear solid, the composition of some ocean floor rocks is up to 15 percent water. "The water molecules are actually stuck in the mineral structure of the rock," Wysession explained. "As you heat this up, it eventually dehydrates. It's like taking clay and firing it to get all the water out." The researchers estimate that up to 0.1 percent of the rock sinking down into the Earth's mantle in that part of the world is water, which works out to about an Arctic Ocean's worth of water. "That's a real back of the envelope type calculation," Wysession said. "That's the best that we can do at this point."

The Beijing anomaly

Wysession has dubbed the new underground feature the "Beijing anomaly," because seismic wave attenuation was found to be highest beneath the Chinese capital city. Wysession first used the moniker during a presentation of his work at the University of Beijing. "They thought it was very, very interesting," Wysession said. "China is under greater seismic risk than just about any country in the world, so they are very interested in seismology." Water covers 70 percent of Earth's surface and one of its many functions is to act like a lubricant for the movement of continental plates. "Look at our sister planet, Venus," Wysession said. "It is very hot and dry inside Venus, and Venus has no plate tectonics. All the water probably boiled off, and without water, there are no plates. The system is locked up, like a rusty Tin Man with no oil."

The Earth’s radius is about 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers). The main layers of its interior are in descending order: crust, mantle and core. The crust thickness averages about 18 miles (30 kilometers) under the continents, but is only about 3 miles (5 kilometers) under the oceans. It is light and brittle and can break. In fact it's fractured into more than a dozen major plates and several minor ones.

It is where most earthquakes originate. The mantle is more flexible – it flows instead of fractures. It extends down to about 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) below the surface. The core consists of a solid inner core and a fluid outer core. The fluid contains iron, which, as it moves, generates the Earth’s magnetic field. The crust and upper mantle form the lithosphere, which is broken up into several plates that float on top of the hot molten mantle below.

Source: LiveScience

Views: 62

Comment by Angelite on July 12, 2012 at 3:25am

Hello!! Leo,

Very Interesting!! & Thankyou!! Very Much!! for sharing this with Us!!

Love & Light Blessings,

Hannah

Comment by A. Mahachandra on July 12, 2012 at 3:36am

You are inspired to picking some good articles, the planets must be well aligned for you today:):):)

Comment by Davide Orsini on July 12, 2012 at 3:48am

There are many discoveries coming out now, its very exciting to see what is being discovered.

Comment by Maya D' Auspicio on July 12, 2012 at 4:36am

What an amazing day, so many different things to read.

Comment by Kay Chong Tay on July 12, 2012 at 5:38am

Amazingly Wonderful Greatly!!!

Comment by Leo on July 12, 2012 at 6:30am

Thanking you Stunningly KC and Wonderfully. Are we going for a flip this weekend ?

Comment by Jacqueline DM. (Jackie) on July 13, 2012 at 3:13am

Fascinating stuff.

Comment by Kay Chong Tay on July 13, 2012 at 4:10am

Leo yes we can flip if propeller is fix. If not fixed we will flop.

Comment by Leo on July 13, 2012 at 4:42am

No hurry !

Comment by Maya D' Auspicio on July 13, 2012 at 6:45am

So you see KC either way you land back into the water.

kc

Comment

You need to be a member of The City of Shamballa to add comments!

Join The City of Shamballa

Follow On:

COS Sponsors

Have you?

Become a Member
Invited Your Friends
Made new Friends
Read/ Written a Blog
Joined/ Created a Group
Read/ Posted a Discussion
Looked at/Posted Photos
Looked at/Posted Videos
Made a donation this month
Followed us on Twitter
 Liked us on Facebook
Congratulated the Member of the Month

Donate

Donate here (in any amount) if you benefited from attunements or healing or simply want to make a donation to keep the City of Shamballa network running. All donations are greatly appreciated.

Donate

Subscribe to Top Content

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe to receive our email newsletter


Take our Survey

© 2009-2014   Chris Comish d/b/a The City of Shamballa Social Network

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service