Report

Evidence for primordial water in Earth’s deep mantle

Science  13 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6262, pp. 795-797
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac4834

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Shaking out water's dusty origin

Where did Earth's water come from? Lavas erupting on Baffin Island, Canada, tap a part of Earth's mantle isolated from convective mixing. Hallis et al. studied hydrogen isotopes in the lavas that help to “fingerprint” the origin of water from what could be a primordial reservoir. The isotope ratios for the Baffin Island basalt lavas suggest a pre-solar origin of water in Earth, probably delivered by adsorption onto dust grains.

Science, this issue p. 795

Abstract

The hydrogen-isotope [deuterium/hydrogen (D/H)] ratio of Earth can be used to constrain the origin of its water. However, the most accessible reservoir, Earth’s oceans, may no longer represent the original (primordial) D/H ratio, owing to changes caused by water cycling between the surface and the interior. Thus, a reservoir completely isolated from surface processes is required to define Earth’s original D/H signature. Here we present data for Baffin Island and Icelandic lavas, which suggest that the deep mantle has a low D/H ratio (δD more negative than –218 per mil). Such strongly negative values indicate the existence of a component within Earth’s interior that inherited its D/H ratio directly from the protosolar nebula.

View Full Text