An ocean of water is found 620 miles below Earth’s surface – and if it dries up, life on our planet could END

  • Two studies found evidence of oceans of water in Earth’s lower mantle 
  • It is unclear how much water is being stored, but previous studies suggest it could be the same amount as all the oceans put together
  • Without this water, life on Earth would cease to exist  

Water covers around 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface, but a huge amount also lies inside our planet. Two new studies suggest that there may be vast quantities of water as far as 620 miles (1,000 kilometres) below the surface. Without this huge store of water, the geodynamic activity that causes volcanoes – which are important for generating soil and sustaining life on the planet – would cease.

In the first study, researchers from Florida State University and the University of Edinburgh estimated that water exists far deeper in the Earth than previously thought, stored in a mineral called brucite.  Although the amount of water is unknown, researchers believe it could account for as much as 1.5 per cent of the weight of the planet – the same amount of water as all the world’s oceans put together.

 

Mainak Mookherjee, who led the study, said: ‘We didn’t think water could be stored by hydrous minerals such as brucite at these depths.

‘But now that we know it’s there, we need to figure out how much water could be effectively stored inside it.’

In a parallel study, researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois suggest that this water is much deeper than any seen before, at a third of the way to the edge of Earth’s core.

The researchers discovered a diamond, spat out 90 million years ago by a volcano near the São Luíz river in Juina, Brazil.

The diamond had an imperfection, containing minerals that became trapped during the diamond’s formation.

When the researchers looked at it under the microscope, they saw evidence of the presence of hydroxyl ions – which normally come from water. READ MORE