In a major breakthrough, scientists have claimed that they have discovered the Earth’s largest water reservoir, rock deep in its mantle.
According to the researchers, the newly discovered reservoir which is found 640 km beneath our feet could quench the thirst of billions of people in the future.
The study was conducted by the researchers at Northwestern University and University of New Mexico.
During the study in North America, the researchers found deep pockets of magma beneath the region. This is a clear indication of presence of water at these depths.
Researchers explain that the water found is not in the regular form known to us, i.e. they are not liquid, ice or vapour.
According to the researchers, this is the fourth form of water which is trapped inside the molecular structure of the minerals in the mantle rock.
The study is seen as a major revelation about the movement plate tectonics. Researchers say the discovery suggests water from the earth’s surface can be driven to such great depths by plate tectonics.
Geophysicist Steve Jacobsen from Northwestern University said, “We are finally seeing evidence for a whole-earth water cycle that may help explain the vast amount of liquid water on the surface of our habitable planet. Scientists have been looking for this missing deep water for decades.”
The study converged to produce evidence that melting may occur about 640 km deep under the planet.
“H2O stored in mantle rocks, such as those containing the mineral ringwoodite, likely is the key to the process,” researchers said.
The researchers hope the new findings will aid them in understanding how the Earth formed. Moreover, what is its current composition and inner workings are and how much water is trapped in mantle rock.
The findings of the study were published in the journal Science.