Scientists Discover An Ocean Beneath The Earth’s Surface

Is it truly possible that there has been an ocean below us this whole time, without our knowledge? As it turns out, that’s exactly what researchers at the University of Goethe discovered. Yes, we know water makes up 71% of our planet’s surface, but what about what lurks beneath? And after extensive research, experts have found water in an unexpected place; right under the earth’s surface.

Interestingly, the discovery was made as a result of earthquake studies. Scientists came to find shockwaves under the Earth’s surface by using seismometers to study quakes. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that water was hiding below us, but just how far below and just how much water was still in question.

Scientists discovered that water is stored inside mantle rock in 2014. Inside this mantle rock water exists, not in a liquid, solid, or gas, but in a sponge-like state. These findings led experts to find an enormous reservoir of water 400 miles below the earth’s surface.

They managed to establish that the rock did in fact have the capacity to hold water, and if that was the case then there would certainly be a high probability of tons of water being stored below the surface. The notion was thrilling! 

What was even more shocking than the discovery itself was just how much there was. They found that there was over 3 times the volume of water beneath the surface than there is on it. However, this massive discovery is tragically trapped inside the rocks, leaving the question, “How do we get to it?”. 

The sponge-like mantle rock is called ringwoodite, and just like a sponge, the rock absorbs water. Not only does it absorb water, but it actually attracts hydrogen due to its crystal structure. This allows for water to become easily trapped within the ringwoodite, resulting in this massive source!

Steve Jacobsen, a geophysicist partially responsible for the discovery explains the gravity of a finding such as this, “I think we are finally seeing evidence for a whole-Earth water cycle, which may help explain the vast amount of liquid water on the surface of our habitable planet. Scientists have been looking for this massive deep water for decades”.

This finding challenges much of what we thought we knew about water on our planet. Prior to the discovery, much of the scientific community agreed that our planet was far too hot to produce water naturally. Thus, water must have been created further away in the solar system and appeared on our planet after a collision with something like an asteroid or comet. But finding water in the deepest part of Earth’s core really changes what we thought we knew!