Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists reveal fate of Earth’s oceans

11.05.2006


Scientists at The University of Manchester have uncovered the first evidence of seawater deep inside the Earth shedding new light on the fate of the planet’s oceans, according to research published in Nature (May 11, 2006).



For years geologists have debated whether seawater is subducted (absorbed) into the deep Earth or whether there is a ‘subduction barrier’ blocking its absorption.

For the first time scientists at The University of Manchester have positively identified seawater in volcanic gas samples originating from the Earth’s mantle - the region just below the crust and extending all the way down to the core – supporting the theory that seawater is subducted deep into the Earth and enabling them to test this theory further.


Professor Chris Ballentine and Dr Greg Holland of the University’s School of Earth and Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences have also revealed that up to 10% of the Earth’s oceans have been absorbed deep into the Earth since its formation.

Professor Ballentine said: “We can show that up to 10% of the Earth’s oceans have been absorbed into the planet since formation. This accounts for about half of the water in the deep earth, the remainder of which was trapped when the Earth first formed. This work, for the first time, quantifies the ‘geological water cycle’.”

Trace gases were used to identify seawater in volcanic gas samples. This was done by counting the relative number of atoms of different noble gases (Argon, Krypton and Xenon) in the samples which revealed an atomic ‘fingerprint’ matching that of seawater.

The study, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, is also the first to establish the precise composition of the noble gases present in the Earth’s mantle. In addition to identifying seawater the noble gases have provided a cornerstone for understanding the very origin of gases and water in our planet.

Dr Holland said: “As we now know how much seawater and associated gases were added to the deep Earth, we can identify what was down there to start with much more precisely. This is absolutely critical for understanding how our planet formed and has changed over time”

Professor Ballentine added: “Our results also explain why ocean volcanoes, like Hawaii and Iceland, which come from the where the mantle meets the core, have a higher water content than ocean volcanoes that originate from shallower regions of the mantle. Previously, geologists have thought that this is because this region of the planet preferentially preserved water and gasses trapped during earth formation and it is only now ‘leaking out’. We know however that if seawater subduction is occurring, it will be carried more efficiently into the deepest parts of the earth, and that contrary to these old ideas, the water in the lavas from Hawaii and Iceland are in fact dominated by old seawater that has travelled from the surface, to the center of the earth and back again.”

Simon Hunter | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New insights into the ancestors of all complex life
29.05.2017 | University of Bristol

nachricht A 3-D look at the 2015 El Niño
29.05.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New Method of Characterizing Graphene

Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.

Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

3D printer inks from the woods

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

How circadian clocks communicate with each other

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Graphene and quantum dots put in motion a CMOS-integrated camera that can see the invisible

30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>