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PART III: And powerful discoveries

Igniting a worldwide buzz by detecting vast amounts of water in the deepest part of the Earth’s interior. University of Alberta.
By
Sharon Oosthoek
Institution(s)
University of Alberta
Province(s)
Alberta
Topic(s)
Earth Science
A man uses tweezers to hold up a small diamond. The diamond is in focus, blurring out the man’s face.

An unusual mineral inclusion in this diamond turned out to be ringwoodite. For 40 years, scientists speculated that ringwoodite makes up a major fraction of the Earth’s mantle and contains much of the planet’s deep water. An international team led by University of Alberta’s Graham Pearson discovered the Brazilian diamond, inside which was nestled the first ever crystal of ringwoodite from Earth. The discovery was one of the most important of 2014, and had the scientific community abuzz. The ringwoodite’s high proportion of water confirms scientific theories about vast volumes of water trapped up to 660 kilometres beneath the Earth’s crust and promises to help scientists better understand volcanism and plate tectonics.

Images: University of Alberta

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A handbook on a white surface.

INNOVATION: A DESIRE TO MAKE THINGS BETTER

A commemorative book to mark 20 years of the Canada Foundation for Innovation