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A vast reservoir of water exists beneath the Earth's surface, enough to fill the oceans three times over, say a team of American scientists who have produced the first direct evidence of the water. But rather than existing in liquid form like the oceans, this subterranean water is trapped in a mineral called ringwoodite. The mineral acts like a sponge due to a crystal structure that makes it attract hydrogen and trap water. "The study used data from the USArray, a network of seismometers across the US that measure the vibrations of earthquakes," combined with lab experiments simulating conditions found nearly 400 miles underground.

What's the Big Idea?

Based on a vast underground region extending across most of the interior of the US, the findings could overturn the long-held theory that ice-covered comets first brought water to Earth's surface, slamming into the rocky planet before its atmosphere could develop. The lead scientist behind the data, geophysicist Steve Jacobson, explained that life as we know it may owe its existence to the ringwoodite buffer zone. "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," he said.

Read more at the Guardian

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