Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Huge Reservoir Discovered Beneath Asia 273

Posted by samzenpus
from the city-of-R'lyeh dept.
anthemaniac writes "Seismic observations reveal a huge reservoir of water in Earth's mantle beneath Asia. It's actually rock saturated with water, but it's an ocean's worth of water ... as much as is in the whole Arctic Ocean. How did it get there? A slab of water-laden crust sank, and the water evaporated out when it was heated, and then it was trapped, the thinking goes. The discovery fits neatly with the region's heavy seismic activity and fits neatly with the idea that the planet's moving crustal plates are lubricated with water."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Huge Reservoir Discovered Beneath Asia

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @11:11PM (#18190236)
    ... after Noah's Flood! This proves the existence of God! Suck it, James Cameron!!!12!!
    • by rjamestaylor (117847) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @11:47PM (#18190494) Homepage Journal

      Genesis 7:11-12
      In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.

      I see your snarky comment and raise it one Interesting one.
      • Sorry (Score:4, Funny)

        by encoderer (1060616) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @12:24AM (#18190690)
        Sorry.. That's a string bet. This isn't the wild west. You must make your wager in one continuous play.
      • by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Thursday March 01, 2007 @12:41AM (#18190782)
        The vast majority of sea life is VERY sensitive to the salinity of the water they live in. The sudden addition of fresh water would dilute the salt water to about 1/7 or 1/8 and would have either directly or indirectly killed all sea-life, completely destroying the only ecosystem left.
        • by Crazyscottie (947072) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @01:43AM (#18191188)
          Erm... Call me crazy, but I think the story says that the floods DID destroy all life - except those animals on the ark, of course. Whether or not the story of Noah and the Ark on the whole agrees with science may be arguable, but your comment suggests that you've only researched one side.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Brad1138 (590148)
            OK, that doesn't really change my point. If the ENTIRE worlds ecosystem was destroyed it would take some time to revive it (probably millions of years) if it wasn't beyond recovery. They were told to take enough food for the year on the arc, what did they eat when they stepped foot onto a completely world. it takes about 4 months for carrots to grow from seed (for example) that's a long time to go without food. When the water did "recede" there would be no fresh water anywhere anymore, plants don't grow wel
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              OK, so if we accept that God flooded the entire world in a matter of days, why the heck can't you accept that He would just provide food as needed, or make all the sea animals survive because He wanted too? Essentially, if you accept one miracle, what's one more?
              • by h2g2bob (948006)
                You mean like the manna from heaven? If God is all powerful, anything is possible. Which is the big problem with the idea of gods. You can explain anything with "God did it." It's all so very convenient!

                What causes flooding - God does it.
                How was the world made - God did it.
                Why do we need to go and kill those people - God says so.

                See? Brilliant answers without the irritating need of rational thought. Which is sad, because if there is a god, it is obvious that he or she designed the world with our understandi
                • by malsdavis (542216)
                  "Why do we need to go and kill those people - God says so."

                  The fact that in many wars (and there are countless examples, the Crusades being classic, totally refutable ones), both sides claim god is on their side, means if god is real he is either:

                  a) A really sick bastard who either enjoys watching groups kill, rape and torture each other,
                  or
                  b) the various clergies of the world do not actually know God's wishes are and so established religions are just as likely being blasphemous as godly.

                  Personally, consider
              • He would just provide food as needed, or make all the sea animals survive because He wanted too?

                Of course, he could have also just saved all of the animals that he wanted saved. But it is soooo much more fun to screw with people, and convince them to build a big unnecessary boat, and sleep in cramped quarters with hundreds of thousands of animals (1,100 species of bats alone don't ya know?) for a year.

                I had a boss once who gave people non-productive, frustrating tasks just to prove to everyone that he

                • by hswerdfe (569925)
                  so technically the English translation of the bible never uses the word "species", it refers to 2 of every "kind" of animal.
                  Creationists have this elaborate world constructed where they have divided the world animals into a few thousand kinds of animals. and use a hyper-evolution thing to explain the variety of species we have now.
                  it is really very strange.

          • by codeButcher (223668) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @03:41AM (#18191696)

            What's interesting is that that passage uses the Hebrew word "eretz", which gets translated as "earth" in all (English) translations I've seen. Now, "earth" in itself is a very generic term, and does not NECESSARILY mean "the planet Earth". And "eretz" could also be translated as "land", "country", "ground" etc.

            So the choice is up to the translator, and if you have 2 millennia's worth of tradition (which was based on incomplete knowledge), it is quite hard to break free of the mould.

            It is certainly possible that the Noah flood was a localized event, without invalidating the Scriptures (as seen in the original language).

            • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSpam.yahoo.com> on Thursday March 01, 2007 @11:53AM (#18194710) Journal
              Here's an interesting theory along those lines. [wikipedia.org] Synopsis: Glaciation ends, rivers stop feeding the Black Sea (which was the Black Freshwater Lake at the time), evaporation and rising sea levels put it well below sea level. Waters in the Mediterranean overflow the Bosporus. Ten cubic miles of water flow into the Black Sea per day for at least three hundred days.

              So we have a huge flood, in the right part of the world, at around the right time for the ancestors of the Jewish people to remember it and write about it in the old testament. And a possible reason Deluge mythology is so universal. A waterfall two hundred times the size of Niagra Falls flooding 60,000 square miles of previously settled land might be something you'd tell your grandkids about.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by TemporalBeing (803363)

              It is certainly possible that the Noah flood was a localized event, without invalidating the Scriptures (as seen in the original language).

              Except that has a different issue with Genesis 7:17-23 [biblegateway.com] - "They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet." (versus 19 & 20 specifically quoted here)

              How exactly do you cover "all the high mountains" and not cover the

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by tsalaroth (798327)

            Erm... Call me crazy, but I think the story says that the floods DID destroy all life - except those animals on the ark, of course. Whether or not the story of Noah and the Ark on the whole agrees with science may be arguable, but your comment suggests that you've only researched one side.

            Any scholar of the Torah will tell you the Ark is a metaphor for something else. As to what, I've never been able to find (or get) an answer that wasn't from some crackpot wearing a tin-foil hat.

        • by b0r1s (170449) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @02:10AM (#18191326) Homepage
          The volume in the article doesnt match your math, but you're basically correct. Most natural sea water has a specific gravity of about 1.024-1.025. You can drop it as low as 1.009 without any real damage to fish, but invertebrates die pretty quickly if you do that (great way to treat saltwater fish for parasites, the lower SG of freshwater causes osmotic shock and they die).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cluckshot (658931)

      Back On topic...

      The issue of a massive quantity of water in the mantle of the earth throws a big monkey wrench into the current theories of how the earth is formed and structured. It also throws a bunch of wrenches into the whole cosmological theory basis for how the earth formed etc. If the earth formed starting little and then grew hot from impacts and so forth then the water would be boiled out into space and the oceans would not exist. Sorry but the whole theory basis for the formation and structure

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @11:14PM (#18190260)
    the planet's moving crustal plates are lubricated with water.



    Be like the Earth: use water-based lubricants, kids.

  • dammit! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @11:16PM (#18190278)
    There goes my astroglide tectonics theory! Back to the drawing board...
  • by blankoboy (719577) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @11:17PM (#18190284)
    but a tall glass of Prune juice always gets that trapped "slab of water-laden crust" out just fine.
  • Venus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @11:20PM (#18190298) Homepage Journal
    The discovery fits neatly with the region's heavy seismic activity and fits neatly with the idea that the planet's moving crustal plates are lubricated with water."

    This may explain why Venus, a planet of similar size, appears to have a very different resurfacing mechanism. Venus's surface appears to "explode" once roughly every half-a-billion years, and then stay mellow until the next cycle. Thus, pressure probably builds up until a giant venusquake is eminant and kabam! Water on Earth appearently provides some lubrication such that the pressure is releived relatively gradually in comparison.
    • Re:Venus (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @11:31PM (#18190366) Homepage
      Water cant prevent all pressure build up.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/1999/supervol canoes.shtml [bbc.co.uk]
      • Re:Venus (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @12:23AM (#18190678) Homepage
        From the linked article:
        Scientists have very few answers, but they do know that the impact of a Yellowstone eruption is terrifying to comprehend. Huge areas of the USA would be destroyed, the US economy would probably collapse, and thousands might die.

        Thousands . . . might? In that situation I'd say "hundreds of thousands will" is far, far more likely.

        They're either hilariously overexaggerating the first part or hilariously underexaggerating the second.
        • Re:Venus (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @12:34AM (#18190748) Homepage Journal
          It's hard to say, though it does seem like an incredibly lowball estimate. Still, a major disaster that hits the US doesn't seem to cause anywhere near the same level of fatalities as it does in other areas, though a heck of a lot of damage is done.

          I would have thought that a Yellowstone eruption was going to wipe out a few states, and pretty much anyone in them. The ash makes helicopter operation practically imposible and hot chunks of rubble will just sear through tires, leaving not much to evacuate with, assuming that the CO2 and sulfur emissions don't choke.
          • Not to mention the "nuclear winter" and following crop failures. Our "global economy" lives hand to mouth. Billions would die, not thousands.
        • Great (Score:3, Funny)

          by Mark_MF-WN (678030)
          Hey, it gets my vote. Any situation where massive numbers of human deaths can be associated with the word "hilariously" twice in the same sentence, is a situation that I want to be a part of.
        • by dave420 (699308)
          Or maybe they figured out there would most likely be a warning, allowing evacuation, and are engaging in something akin to actual journalism and not sensationalism? :)
          • by ZorbaTHut (126196)
            If the US economy collapses I don't care how evacuated the immediate area is, there will be thousands upon thousands of deaths.

            Plus, how exactly would you go about evacuating "huge areas of the US"? Even assuming you could find everyone (you couldn't) the amount of rioting and damage that would occur would be extraordinary.

            I'm perfectly prepared to believe that the first segment is exaggerated for the sake of journalism. But if the first part is in any way accurate, the second part is extremely minimized.
            • by dave420 (699308)
              Journalists, contrary to popular belief, can't make things up. They aren't professors of Crazyshitology. They don't know what's going to happen, and their guesswork isn't good enough for their publication. Even if it is, in your opinion, obvious, without expertise and credentials backing that opinion up, it's not worthy of inclusion. If you want conjecture, guesswork, and ass-delving, go to Fox news or Keith Olbermann.
        • by khallow (566160)
          There's also the matter of how much preparation time we'd get. My take is that there would be a warning time on the order of months or years, perhaps even decades. Volcanoes traditionally are predictable. A surprise eruption of Yellowstone might kill millions through the direct impact of the eruption and then hundreds of millions through the climate changes and food shortages (virtually all in the Third World). But it's much more likely that any such eruption will be expected. Then the US just needs to evac
  • Usefulness? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RealGrouchy (943109) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @11:23PM (#18190306)
    So TFA states that there is good chance of there being lots of water beneath the crust in Asia. Okay, so that's water cooler (whoops...no pun intended) material.

    What would make it truly interesting (to non-seismologists) would be if that water were fresh (i.e. drinkable) and accessible (so it could be used as a drinking water supply).

    - RG>
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Edis Krad (1003934)
      I'm not really sure about this. The article also mentions that the water tends to dampen seismic waves (and some sort of tectonic plate lubricant). If you were to remove it, earthquakes could become disastrous.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by arthurpaliden (939626)
        So are you saying that tapping a little water from this "ocean" will cause more earth quakes. There are always earthquakes, big and small. Next you will probably say that by producing greenhouse gases we are effecting climate change........
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        No. Dear moderators, this person hasn't any idea what he/she is stalking about.

        This water is really utterly tangential to any modern earthquake risk in East Asia. This water occurs at great depth within the earth, far below the relatively shallow depth at which large damaging earthquakes occur, and there is far too little of it to significantly disrupt seismic shear waves let alone significantly disrupt p waves from even an unusually deep earthquake. Its removal (which is by the way is impossible to accompl
    • It has already been speculated by many that if Asia (well China in particular) gets its shit together it can wipe the world as a commodity agricultural producer (just like it has as a manufacturer). Water is a huge constraint to massive agricultural output. If they have a huge amount of water available, they're all go!
    • What would make it truly interesting (to non-seismologists) would be if that water were fresh (i.e. drinkable) and accessible (so it could be used as a drinking water supply).

      No, no, no. You're missing the point. The only way to make this interesting is to get a grant to study how (not whether!) this find demonstrates the need for Al Gore to make a sequel to his movie. If there's no global warming tie-in, then it can't be science.
      • Am I crazy? (Score:3, Funny)

        by spun (1352)
        I think global warming is a real problem. I think it's probably caused by humans.

        The problem? I also think Al Gore is a pompous ass and his movie was the most boring piece of shit I've ever seen. By the end, I was rooting for global warming, on the theory that it might kill Al Gore. So, does that mean I'm crazy?
  • by andy314159pi (787550) on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @11:29PM (#18190354) Journal

    planet's moving crustal plates are lubricated with water.
    The planet's crusts used to lubricate with oil based lubricants until it got the memo to switch to water based lubricants.
    • The planet's crusts used to lubricate with oil based lubricants until it got the memo to switch to water based lubricants.

      What's even funnier than your joke is that it's rated Interesting instead of Funny and elicited some speculation on switching to water based lubricants. Holy cow :)

      After reading the article (such as it is), it seems like awfully fuzzy science. They estimate that .1% of waterlogged ocean bottom is made up of water, and if .1% of the bottom of As
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 28, 2007 @11:42PM (#18190454)
    First they got all the tea in China and now they got all the water too?
    It's not fair!
  • Illuminati (Score:2, Funny)

    by Llarian (158700)
    Its the sea of Valusia, of course...
  • The discovery fits neatly ... with the idea that the planet's moving crustal plates are lubricated with water."

    I'm a fan of the Abiogenic theory of oil [wikipedia.org]. This theory holds that crude oil does NOT come from 'dinosaurs' and swamps, but from some other source in the Earth system. IANACG (crackpot geologist), but I think crude oil is just a part of the earth's carbon cycle. Carbon gets sequestered in the ocean (coral/etc), said carbon gets submerged into the mantle, and millions/billions of years later gets tr
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      the biggest thing in favor of aboitic oil generation is that the likelyhood of useful energy containing material being allowed to sink that far into the earth is juist silly, something would have found a way to eat it on it's way down.

      the energy coming from the heat of the planet is more reasonable, though it doesn't give us an out on conserving oil, since even with abiotic production there is no way to know how much to expect to be produced at a given time.
    • "IANACG (crackpot geologist), but I think crude oil is just a part of the earth's carbon cycle."

      This comment isn't aimed directly at you; but...

      1) No crackpot geologist ever thinks that he is "one of those crackpot geologists".
      2) Even crackpot theories tend to have at least a few adherents, and they tend to be very vocal and argumentative. It can make it seem at first glance as if the theory has wider support than is actually true.
      • by nido (102070)
        All truly revolutionary ideas start as 'crackpot' theories. After years & decades of lonesome, dedicated research, some of these theories become widely accepted. ... Wouldn't have replied, but I have a '93 Escort Wagon too. Be sure to change your timing belt at the regularly scheduled intervals for more reliable transportation. Manual or Automatic? :)
    • by shess (31691)
      I'm a fan of the Abiogenic theory of oil. ... I think crude oil is just a part of the earth's carbon cycle.

      Does it matter? Under one set of theories, we have to bury a bunch of biomass, wait a couple hundred million years, and we have more oil. Under the other theory, the oil is a natural part of planetary development, so we have to wait ... a couple billion years? It's a little like arguing about the cosmic microwave background radiation, it's an interesting argument, but not terribly practical.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @02:25AM (#18191396) Journal

      In light of this overview, hydrocarbon economies are bad not because of Carbon Dioxide, but because we're draining our planet of its lubrication. This is probably a Bad Thing - I expect some major seismic activity in the next 50-1000 years.
      Draining our planet of lubrication?
      Are you serious?
      Oil wells go down ~7 miles tops.
      Earthquakes' points of origin are much much deeper than that.

      From the U.S. Geological Survey

      FAQ - Earthquakes, Faults, Plate Tectonics, Earth Structure:
      Q: Can we cause earthquakes? Is there any way to prevent earthquakes? [usgs.gov]
      Short answer: Yes, as a result of fluid injection into wells. No

      Common Myths about Earthquakes:
      Can you prevent large earthquakes by making lots of small ones, or by "lubricating" the fault with water or another material? [usgs.gov]
      Short answer: No & yes, but it would be a bad idea.

      Soo.... we can cause earthquakes by injecting fluids into wells, but I've never heard that removing fluids from a well can cause an earthquake.
      • by nido (102070)
        I've read that some old oil wells, which had supposedly been 'tapped out' and capped over decades ago, have re-filled in the intervening years.

        Recall that oil wells are pressurized, and are only economical to tap as long as that pressure stays high. Exploration for oil involves poking a hole where the oil is and measuring how much spurts out. If it's enough, they'll put up a permanent rig & piping.

        Recall Kuwait in 1991, when some of the oil wells were bombed & set aflame... Took the special firefigh
  • Too bad its not oil. We'd have the government rushing to develop a Journey-to-the-Center-of-the-Earth type project to investigate.
  • by bremstrong (523910) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @03:48AM (#18191722)
    Over the life of the Earth, it seems the water would slowly disappear into the crust as the ocean plates are subducted.

    If it is in a steady state, where is the water coming back out?
    • by bky1701 (979071)
      It IS going inside it. It's just at a very, very slow rate, like many other things.
  • The Deepest Hole (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nephridium (928664) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:04AM (#18192158)
    This is reminiscent of an article [wikipedia.org] I read about the deepest drilling endeavor ever put forth. While the scientists' educated guess was that the rock material would turn to basalt at around 3-4km in actuality they were confronted with metamorphic rock filled with water! According to the scientists the water might have formed out of O and H atoms "squeezed" out of the surrounding rock and having no way to escape - this would mean it would actually be drinkable water. Furthermore they found large amounts of hydrogen gas contained in the crust which could alleviate some of our energy concerns once we put more effort into hydrogen fuel cell [wikipedia.org] research.

    I wonder what else mother earth has in store for us considering we only scratched the surface - the drill hole went down to 12km while the earth's radius is more than 6000km..
    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      Furthermore they found large amounts of hydrogen gas contained in the crust which could alleviate some of our energy concern

      While it wouldn't result in a CO2 increase, it wouldn't be renewable either.
  • by NeuroManson (214835) on Thursday March 01, 2007 @06:05AM (#18192160) Homepage
    One thing I found to be unusual, and possibly more worth examining, is how the areas illustrated in the article map are almost precisely the same shape as the major continents. See http://images.livescience.com/images/070228_beijin g_anom_02.jpg [livescience.com]

    Seems kinda weird, possibly a leftover effect from previous tectonic shifts?
  • by Zaatxe (939368)
    The discovery fits neatly with the region's heavy seismic activity and fits neatly with the idea that the planet's moving crustal plates are lubricated with water.

    How would that affect Tesla's plans to break Earth in two? I'm just asking, I do not plan to take this plan ahead!!
  • "city-of-R'lyeh"

    heh. That would fix things on the planet's surface fairly quickly, if we could wake the old bugger up....
  • flood theory (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bob-taro (996889)
    Oh, no! Christians will think this is evidence for the flood! Let's all preemptively belittle that idea! Well, I'm a Christian and I do think this is in line with the flood theory explained on this site [creationscience.com]. Many cultures of the world have a Great Flood [wikipedia.org] legend similar to the one in the Bible.

    Just to save the mockers some time, I'll mention that I fully realize that the hydroplate theory:

    • has critics
    • even if correct, doesn't prove God exists or that evolution is false

Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle. -- Steinbach

Working...