TIME Water

Scientists Find Evidence of Massive Water Reserve Near Earth’s Center

Earth seen from space
NASA/Getty Images

A rare mineral discovery suggests a reservoir that could hold as much water as all the earth’s oceans combined

Scientists announced Wednesday the discovery of a rare mineral never before found on earth that hints at the existence of an enormous water reservoir trapped deep in the earth’s mantle.

The findings published in the journal Nature suggest there may be more water than is in all the world’s oceans trapped in the “transition zone” between the upper and lower layers of the earth’s mantle, AFP reports.

The evidence stems from the discovery of the mineral Ringwoodite found by amateur gem-hunters in a Brazilian riverbed in 2008. The mineral, which suggests the existence of water, has been found in meteorites before but never on earth, perhaps because scientists have simply been unable to dig deep enough to find it due to the heat and pressure at play that far beneath the planet’s surface.

Implications of the discovery could be profound. “One of the reasons the Earth is such a dynamic planet is the presence of some water in its interior,” said lead researcher Graham Pearson. “Water changes everything about the way a planet works,”

The finding comes after scientists announced last year they’d found huge reserves of freshwater trapped beneath the ocean floor.


Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team