Monday, December 10, 2007

Huge 'Ocean' Discovered Inside Earth

clipped from

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.

Looking down deep

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. “Water slows the speed of waves a little,” Wysession explained. “Lots of damping and a little slowing match the predictions for water very well.”

“That’s a real back of the envelope type calculation,” Wysession said. “That’s the best that we can do at this point.”

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