It is 400 to 800 miles (700 to 1,400 kilometers) beneath the earth’s surface, there lies a huge ocean. Tracking on how seismic waves pass through Earth’s mantle from distant earthquakes, Wysession and former graduate student Jesse Lawrence discovered a wet zone, — running from Indonesia to Russia’s northern tip – where that rock is relatively weak. It is here, the seismic waves lose strength much more rapidly compared to elsewhere.
Though this is a groundbreaking finding, the underground sea cannot be explored by submarine, as the water here is locked in moisture-containing rocks lying beneath the surface.
Though the water is a very low percentage of the rock — probably less than 0.1 percent — given the size of the region, its enough to add up to a vast amount of water. The finding may help scientists understand the formation of volcanic regions better. This will be of greater help for studying regions in Iceland, Hawaii, and Yellowstone National Park.
Map courtesy: Eric Chou/WUSTL