Editors' ChoiceGeochemistry

What goes down comes back up

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Science  07 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6333, pp. 38-39
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6333.38-f

Earth's oceans are thought to have come from a slow outgassing of water from the mantle during planet formation. However, we also know that volatiles can be recycled during subduction of ocean crust. Kendrick et al. turned to a suite of geochemical data to look at the impact of recycling on volatile outgassing, which turns out to dominate the volatile budget. Their results point to a heavily processed mantle in which volatiles are introduced by subduction and released as crust dehydrates. This discovery implies an early Earth in which surface water was recycled into the mantle and outgassed back onto the surface, without the need to invoke deep mantle reservoirs.

Nat. Geosci. 10.1038/ngeo2902 (2017).

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