3 mins read

Is There Life in Earth’s Hidden Ocean, 700km Below the Surface?

A groundbreaking discovery rewrites what we know about Earth's water cycle and the potential for life in unexpected places.
April 6, 2024
Ocean Deep Within Our Planet
Image for representation

Deep within the Earth, a world of wonder awaits. Scientists have made an astonishing discovery – a colossal ocean resides 700 kilometers beneath the Earth’s surface, locked within a mineral called ringwoodite. This hidden reservoir holds an amount of water three times greater than the combined volume of all our surface oceans.

The existence of this underground ocean shakes the very foundation of our understanding of Earth’s water cycle. Until now, theories suggested that water on our planet arrived from icy comets or was confined to the surface and shallow underground reservoirs. But this new finding paints a much more dynamic picture.

Ad below

“We always thought water cycled between the atmosphere, surface bodies, and a small underground reserve,” explains Dr. Steven Jacobsen, a leading researcher on the project. “Now, we realize a vast hidden ocean plays a crucial role in how Earth manages and stores this vital resource.”

This discovery doesn’t just impact our knowledge of Earth’s water. It also opens up tantalizing questions about the potential for life in extreme environments. If water exists in such abundance deep within Earth, could it harbor unique life forms adapted to the crushing pressure and heat of the deep mantle?

The team’s research involved deploying thousands of seismographs across the United States, creating an extensive listening network. As earthquakes rippled through the Earth, these sensitive instruments detected subtle changes in seismic waves passing through the mantle transition zone. The slowdown of these waves strongly indicated the presence of water-saturated rock.

“It’s like the Earth gave us a giant ultrasound,” says Dr. Jacobsen. “The seismic waves revealed the presence of this hidden ocean with incredible detail.”

The discovery of this massive subterranean ocean is still fresh, requiring much more investigation. Yet, one thing is for sure — it fundamentally changes how we view our planet, showing there are still incredible secrets hidden right beneath our feet.

Why is it Unique?

The discovery of a gigantic ocean within the Earth’s mantle is considered unique for several reasons:

  • Location and Form: The water trapped in ringwoodite within the mantle’s transition zone is a completely unexpected place to find such a substantial water reservoir. This challenges our traditional understanding of where water exists on Earth.
  • Volume: The estimated volume of water in this reservoir is immense, exceeding the combined volume of all surface oceans. This signifies a hidden water cycle much larger than previously understood.
  • Implications for Earth’s Water Origins: The discovery suggests much of Earth’s water might have originated from within the planet itself, rather than relying solely on external sources like comets.
  • Potential for Life: While the conditions in the transition zone are harsh, finding water where it shouldn’t be opens up the possibility, however remote, that some form of extremophile life might exist in these depths.

Ditible Staff

The Ditible is a distinguished digital news media platform. All the breaking news and latest happenings! official Ditible staff profile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.