It seems that the water entering the soil greatly exceeds the amount of water that flows out. (File)
The earth pulls about three times more sea water than previously estimated, according to a seismic study, with great implications for the global water cycle.
Findings have shown that the loss of seawater due to the slow impact of tectonic plates below the Marian Trench – the deepest oceanic trunk in the world.
Rop is where a plate of the Western Pacific Ocean slides below Marian's plate and sinks deep into the earth's ceiling as the plates slowly approach.
"People knew that subduction zones could lead to water, but they did not know how much water," said lead author Chen Cai of the University of Washington at St. Louis.
"This research shows that the subduction zones move far more water in the deeper interior of the earth, many miles below the surface than previously thought," added Candace Major, program director at the Department of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation.
For the study, published in Nature, the team listened to more than a year of Earth's rumblings – from ambient noise to actual earthquakes – using a network of 19 passive seismographs at the bottom of the ocean distributed across the Marian Canal with seven seismographs sewn off.
They discovered that the water in the ocean at the top of the slab descends into the Earth's crust and the upper plate along the fault lines that flattens the area in which the plates collide and bend. Then he's captured.
Under certain temperature conditions and pressures, chemical reactions force the water into a non-liquid form such as aqueous minerals – wet rocks – locking water in the rock on a geological plate.
Then, the plate continues to crawl even deeper into the ground plate, bringing water together with it.
Seismic images show that the area of hydrated stone on the Marian Channel extends nearly 20 miles or 32.2 km below the seabed, showed the study.
Only for the Mariana Rrench region, four times more water rejuvenates than previously calculated. These characteristics can be extrapolated to predict conditions under other ocean trenches around the world.
Scientists believe that most of the water that descends on the trench returns from the Earth to the atmosphere as water vapor when volcanoes throw hundreds of miles away.
But with the revised water estimates, the amount of water that goes into the ground seems to significantly exceed the amount of water that goes out, researchers say.