Water Saturated Mineral Discovery and Why Earth Has So Much Water
Where did the Earth get so much water? Many believe that subterranean water emptied onto the surface after the breakup of the mid-ocean ridges. The volcanic gas released at these ridges also could have produced a large amount of rainfall. Scientists have discovered a water-saturated mineral that gives evidence of large amounts of water existing inside the Earth's mantle layer. A diamond found in Brazil contained a water-rich inclusion containing the mineral ringwoodite, which is a polymorph form of the mineral olivine. Polymorph minerals can be described as two or more minerals that contain the same chemical composition but differ in their atomic arrangement and crystal structure. Ringwoodite is a bright blue mineral which is only formed at high temperature and pressure inside the "transition zone," a layer between the upper and lower mantle layer of the Earth. Scientists Steve Jacobsen of Northwestern University and Brandon Schmandt of the University of New Mexico have discovered the mineral by using laboratory conditions and seismometers to study earthquake activity. The discovery was announced in June of 2014 and published in the journal Science. The water-saturated layer is believed to be located 400 miles below the Earth's surface inside the mantle layer. The scientists estimated that if only one percent of the mantle rock layer contained water that this layer would contain almost three times the water in the Earth's current oceans. Jacobsen produced laboratory conditions similar to the location inside the mantle layer and discovered evidence of partial melting, while Schmandt found a similar observation using seismic wave data. The existence of this water-saturated layer between the upper and lower mantle is a likely source of the Earth's oceans and give support for the description of the "springs of the great deep" opening up as described in the Book of Genesis.