Earth’s Own Mantle Could Be Producing Oxygen, Water and CO2

A research project in which the University of Texas, Arlington, teamed up with Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology has uncovered that there is a chance that hydrogen, oxygen, water and carbon dioxide are being generated in the planet’s mantle.

The team concentrated their efforts on analyzing a portion of the earth’s upper mantle from the High Himalayas. The 7-kilometer section was pushed upwards to the top of the mountains, around 55 million years ago, offering researchers the opportunity to study the mantle. Under normal conditions, this project would not have been possible as we do not yet have the technology needed in order to drill into the earth until we reach the planet’s mantle.

One of the researchers stated that an important discovery was made when micro diamonds whose host rocks originated in the mantle transition zone were found. The team studied these rocks and all the associated minerals, and have discovered primary hydrocarbon and hydrogen fluid inclusions along with the micro diamonds. This also made it clear that the environment in which the diamond is formed does not contain any oxygen.

The scientists suggest that when the mantle up-welled into shallower mantle zone, the hydrocarbon fluids oxidize and precipitate diamond. It is probably the same mechanism may also cause the formation of diamonds of large sizes, such as the Koh-i-Noor, which is considered to be the biggest and most valuable in the whole world. The precious gem is part of the Queen of England’s crown.

This discovery has made it the fact that important compounds that play a major part in evolution, such as carbon dioxide and water, are generated inside the mantle. In other words, the study has uncovered results that can better explain the evolutionary process of life on planet Earth.

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