Date: 28 February 2007 Time: 08:28 AM ET
Scientists probing the Earth’s interior have found a large reservoir of water equal to the volume of the Arctic Ocean beneath eastern Asia. The left figure is a slice through the Earth, taken from the figure on the right, showing the attenuation anomalies within the mantle at a depth of roughly 620 miles. In both images, red shows unusually soft and weak rock believed to be saturated with water, and the blue shows unusually stiff rock (yellow and white show near-average values).
Scientists scanning the deep interior of Earth have found evidence of a vast water reservoir beneath eastern Asia that is at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean.
The discovery marks the first time such a large body of water has found in the planet’s deep mantle.
The finding, made by Michael Wysession, a seismologist at Washington University in St. Louis, and his former graduate student Jesse Lawrence, now at the University of California, San Diego, will be detailed in a forthcoming monograph to be published by the American Geophysical Union.
The pair analyzed more than 600,000 seismograms—records of waves generated by earthquakes traveling through the Earth—collected from instruments scattered around the planet.
They noticed a region beneath Asia where seismic waves appeared to dampen, or “attenuate,” and also slow down slightly….