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Feb 28 / Dave Schumaker

Large volume of water locked in rock below Asia

An interesting article from National Geographic notes that seismic studies of the Earth’s interior have discovered a large amount of water trapped within rock below the Asian continent.

While the title of the National Geographic article makes me cringe (Huge Underground “Ocean” Found Beneath Asia), it does raise some interesting points in terms of plate tectonics and the subduction of ocean crust. It seems to makes sense that the ocean crust has a higher water content than other rocks and that these show up in the mantle after they have already been subducted.

Map courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

This map shows an interesting distribution of the water logged rock though. I would expect to see a similar distribution beneath the Andes Mountains of South America, but there isn’t much that shows up in that area.

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