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A New State of Water Reveals a Hidden Ocean in Earth’s Mantle



Diamonds from deep within the earth carry a new form of water ice, Ice-VII, that confirms there’s an ocean underneath us! Here’s what we know.

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The Hunt for Earth’s Deep Hidden Oceans
“These mineral flecks — some too small to see even under a microscope — offer a peek into Earth’s otherwise unreachable interior. In 2014, researchers glimpsed something embedded in these minerals that, if not for its deep origins, would’ve been unremarkable: water.”

Ice-VII inclusions in diamonds: Evidence for aqueous fluid in Earth’s deep mantle

“Small inclusions in diamonds brought up from the mantle provide valuable clues to the mineralogy and chemistry of parts of Earth that we cannot otherwise sample. Tschauner et al.found inclusions of the high-pressure form of water called ice-VII in diamonds sourced from between 410 and 660 km depth, the part of the mantle known as the transition zone. The transition zone is a region where the stable minerals have high water storage capacity. “

The Earth’s Hidden Ocean

“Dr. Jacobsen synthesizes deep-earth minerals by replicating the extreme pressures that exist hundreds of miles below the surface. Over the years when he has made a blue mineral called ringwoodite, which is ubiquitous in the transition zone, it has formed with water. But that was just lab work, Dr. Jacobsen said, adding, “We haven’t known whether it could happen down there.”
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Special thanks to Maren Hunsberger for hosting and writing this episode of Seeker!
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