Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




WATER WORLD
Earth has a secret reservoir of water, say scientists
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (AFP) March 12, 2014


A hundred and fifty years ago, in "Journey to the Centre of the Earth", French science-fiction forerunner Jules Verne pictured a vast sea that lay deep under our planet's surface.

Today, that strange and haunting image has found an unexpected echo in a scientific paper.

Writing in the journal Nature, scientists on Wednesday said they had found an elusive mineral pointing to the existence of a vast reservoir deep in Earth's mantle, 400-600 kilometres (250-375 miles) beneath our feet.

It may hold as much water as all the planet's oceans combined, they believe.

The evidence comes from a water-loving mineral called ringwoodite that came from the so-called transition zone sandwiched between the upper and lower layers of Earth's mantle, they said.

Analysis shows that a whopping 1.5 percent of the rock comprises molecules of water.

The find backs once-contested theories that the transition zone, or at least significant parts of it, is water-rich, the investigators said.

"This sample really provides extremely strong confirmation that there are local wet spots deep in the Earth in this area," said Graham Pearson of Canada's University of Alberta, who led the research.

"That particular zone in the Earth, the transition zone, might have as much water as all the world's oceans put together."

Ringwoodite is named after Australian geologist Ted Ringwood, who theorised that a special mineral was bound to be created in the transition zone because of the ultra-high pressures and temperatures there.

A piece of this mineral has been a long-sought goal. It would resolve a long-running debate about whether the poorly-understood transition zone is bone-dry or water-rich.

But, until now, ringwoodite has only ever been found in meteorites. Geologists had simply been unable to delve deep enough to find any sample on Earth.

- Worthless diamond brings luck -

Good fortune, though, changed all this.

In 2008, amateur gem-hunters digging in shallow river gravel in the Juina area of Mato Grasso, Brazil, came across a tiny, grubby stone called a brown diamond.

Measuring just three millimetres (0.12 inches) across and commercially worthless, the stone was acquired by the scientists when they were on a quest for other minerals.

But the accidental acquisition turned out to be a bonanza.

In its interior, they found a microscopic trace of ringwoodite -- the very first terrestrial evidence of the ultra-rare rock.

"It's so small, this inclusion, it's extremely difficult to find, never mind work on," Pearson said in a press release, paying tribute to the diligent work of grad student John McNeill.

"It was a bit of a piece of luck, this discovery, as are many scientific discoveries."

The team theorise that the brown diamond rocketed to the surface during a volcanic eruption, hitchhiking in a stream of kimberlite, the deepest of all volcanic rocks.

Years of analysis, using spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, were needed in specialised labs to confirm the find officially as ringwoodite.

Scientists have debated for decades about whether the transition zone has water, and if so, how much of the precious stuff there might be.

None, though, has embraced Verne's fancy of a subterranean sea with a rocky coastline dotted with forests of giant mushrooms and petrified trees.

Hans Keppler, a geologist at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, cautioned against extrapolating the size of the subterranean water find from a single sample of ringwoodite.

And he also said the water was likely to be locked up in specific rocks, in a molecular form called hydroxyl.

"In some ways it is an ocean in Earth's interior, as visualised by Jules Verne... although not in the form of liquid water," Keppler said in a commentary also published by Nature.

The implications of the discovery are profound, Pearson suggested.

If water exists in huge volumes beneath Earth's crust, it is bound to have a big impact on the mechanics of volcanoes and the movement of tectonic plates.

"One of the reasons the Earth is such a dynamic planet is the presence of some water in its interior. Water changes everything about the way a planet works," said Pearson.

.


Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
New Technique Allows Frequent Water Quality Monitoring For Suite of Pollutants
Raleigh NC (SPX) Mar 06, 2014
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique that uses existing technology to allow researchers and natural resource managers to collect significantly more information on water quality to better inform policy decisions. "Right now, incomplete or infrequent water quality data can give people an inaccurate picture of what's happening - and making decisions ... read more


WATER WORLD
Russia to launch three lunar rovers from 2016 to 2019

Control circuit malfunction troubles China's Yutu

China's Lunar Lander Still Operational

China Focus: Uneasy rest begins for China's troubled Yutu rover

WATER WORLD
Opportunity Mars Rover Exploring Murray Ridge Area

Relay Radio on Mars-Bound NASA Craft Passes Checkout

Mars Rover Oppportunity Crushing Rocks With Wheels

Robotic Arm Crushes Rock for Study

WATER WORLD
Under shadow of spy scandal, Merkel, Cameron head to tech fair

Bright pulses of light could make space veggies more nutritious

Committee Democrats Emphasize Need for Human Space Exploration Roadmap

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Complete Space System Milestones

WATER WORLD
China to launch first "space shuttle bus" this year

China expects to launch cargo ship into space around 2016

China capable of exploring Mars

Feature: The "masters" behind China's lunar rover Jade Rabbit

WATER WORLD
Station Crew Preps for Return to Earth, Repairs Recycling System

NASA says US-Russia space ties 'normal'

Cancer Targeted Treatments from Space Station Discoveries

Cosmonauts on space station to turn teacher for Russian students

WATER WORLD
Payload prep continues for Arianespace Soyuz for Sentinel-1A

Russia to Start Building New Manned Rocket Launch Pad in 2015

New Vostochny space center a key priority for Russian Far East

'Mission of Firsts' Showcased New Range-Safety Technology at NASA Wallops

WATER WORLD
A small step toward discovering habitable earths

'Dimer molecules' aid study of exoplanet pressure, hunt for life

What Would A Rocky Exoplanet Look Like? Atmosphere Models Seek Clues

Super-Earth' may be dead worlds

WATER WORLD
Microsoft hopes 'Titanfall' can boost Xbox One

Copper hits near 4-year bottom over China slowdown fears

Candy Crush sweetens gaming for female audience

Saving planet goes from video game to real-world craze




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.