When captured from space, our planet looks more blue than any other colour. We can thank water for it. Especially when you compare it to other planets, the reality of 71% of Earth’s surface covered in water sets in. And since water signifies the presence of life, an international study puts the importance of water on a whole new level. ANI reported, this international study found the water cycle on Earth includes the planet’s interiors.
A team of scientists from the Institute for Geosciences at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany analyzed a rare diamond “formed 660 meters below the Earth’s surface using techniques including Raman spectroscopy and FTIR spectrometry.” The results showed that the transition zone between the Earth’s upper and lower mantle contains “considerable quantities of water.” What was for a long time only a theory was now confirmed. The ocean water accompanies subducting slabs and enters the transition zone.
Professor Frank Brenker from the Institute for Geosciences at Goethe University explained that the movement of rocks in the mantle of Earth is greatly hindered by mineral transformations. He explained it with the example of mantle plumes and how they sometimes stop directly below the transition zone. According to the National Geographic Society, Mantle Plumes are “an area under the rocky outer layer of Earth, called the crust, where magma is hotter than surrounding magma.”
Professor Brenker further explained: “Subducting plates often have difficulty in breaking through the entire transition zone. So there is a whole graveyard of such plates in this zone underneath Europe.” However, the long-term effects of “sucking” material into the transition zone were not well known until this discovery, and whether larger quantities of water existed there. Professor also added that the dense minerals wadsleyite and ringwoodite can store “large quantities of water”. He claimed that the transition zone would theoretically be able to absorb “six times the amount of water in our oceans.”
Now, the study of the rare diamond from Botswana, Africa has proved it. The diamond was formed at the boundaries between the transition zone and the lower mantle. That is at 660 kilometres depth making it rare even among super-deep origin diamonds. With its analyses, scientists found several ringwoodite inclusions. This meant that it exhibited a high water content. To double check if it was indeed from the proposed area, they checked its chemical composition and confirmed it by studying it against fragments of mantle rock found in basalts from around the world.
Professor Brenker explained this discovery is important as it brought scientists closer to Jules Verne’s idea that there might be an ocean inside Earth.