The water is locked up in a mineral called “ringwoodite” 400 miles underneath Earth’s crust, so maybe we shouldn’t go swimming too soon. The discovery of this massive underground “ocean” leads scientists to believe that we will now have the full picture of Earth’s entire water cycle once we have more information on this not-so-tropical ocean. Scientists also believe that this discovery rocks the foundations of our theories of how our planet became so abundant with water.
Geophysicist Steve Jacobsen from Northwestern University co-authored the study, (published in the journal Science), and said the discovery suggested Earth’s water may have come from within, driven to the surface by geological activity, rather than being deposited by icy comets hitting the forming planet as held by the prevailing theories. This leads to the question, How long can we really go now without polluting all of the water available to us? Maybe no one should’ve published this paper because it’ll give corporations the wrong idea: that we can waste and pollute surface water in the hope that we’ll have access to subsurface reservoirs.
A shocking thought is what Jacobsen says next: “If [the stored water] wasn’t there, it would be on the surface of the Earth, and mountaintops would be the only land poking out.” That certainly throws some perspective our way. This shows how careful we need to be when (if) we attempt to access this underground oasis: we could easily destroy ourselves and the delicate water cycle in the process. Thank goodness this stuff is trapped in the ringwoodite for now.
Let’s not forget about the melting icecaps. Add this reservoir on top of that and you’ve got…well nothing left to worry about.
Davey, Melissa. “Earth may have underground ‘ocean’ three times the size of surface oceans combined, scientists say.” The Raw Story | Celebrating 10 Years of Independent Journalism. The Guardian, n.d. Web. 13 June 2014.
Iacurcia, Jenna. “Vast Underwater Ocean Trapped Beneath Earth’s Crust: Environment: Nature World News.” Nature World News. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 June 2014.