Deep Down Earth’s Crust Has a Lot of Water - Scientists

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | March 17, 2014 1:58 PM EST

A diamond found in Brazil had led scientists to announce that an ocean's worth of water could possibility be located beneath the planet Earth's crust.

The battered diamond that survived a trip from hell has been called ringwoodite. It was found that 1.5 per cent of its weight is made up of water. Ringwoodite only forms under extreme pressure, such as the crushing load about 320 miles deep in the mantle. It was actually the first time the mineral has been found in the Earth's surface.


Participants were shown clips from Planet Earth (BBC)

"This sample really provides extremely strong confirmation that there are local wet spots deep in the Earth in this area," Graham Pearson, Canada Excellence Research chair in Arctic Resources at the University of Alberta, said.

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

Artisan miners unearthed the host diamond from shallow river gravels in the Juina area of Mato Grosso, Brazil in 2008. A volcanic rock known as kimberlite, known as the most deeply derived of all volcanic rocks, had brought the diamond to the Earth's surface.

Pearson said the discovery was accidental. His team had been looking for another mineral when they paid about $20 for a 3 millimeter-wide, dirty-looking brown diamond.

He added ringwoodite itself is invisible to the naked eye, buried beneath the surface.

The discovery suggested there could be a sizable water stored in the mantle transition zone, which stretches from 254 miles to 410 miles deep.

"It translates into a very, very large mass of water, approaching the sort of mass of water that's present in all the world's ocean," Pearson told Live Science's Our Amazing Planet.

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Participants were shown clips from Planet Earth (BBC)
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