(Motherboard) A new report published today in Science suggests that pockets of liquid water may exist up to 500 miles beneath Earth’s surface—far deeper that previous estimates. This conclusion was reached after scientists discovered a rare form of crystalized water known as ice VII in diamond samples recovered in Africa and China. These ice VII samples are the first time this form of crystalized water has been seen in nature and led the International Mineralogical Association to declare ice VII as a new type of mineral.
The discovery sheds new light on the how heat, rock, and water interact within the Earth’s mantle, the 1,800 mile-thick crust that accounts for the bulk of our planet’s volume. Scientists hope that a better understanding of the processes at work deep beneath Earth’s surface will result in more accurate geothermal models, which, among other things, can help predict earthquakes with greater accuracy.