Scientist explores role of water in Earth's mantle

06/13/2013 | Nature (free content)

Scientists have believed for decades that water assists in the flow of rock in the Earth's mantle, but recent high-pressure experiments performed on olivine crystals found that water has little effect on the mineral's silicon diffusion. The finding may require a rewrite of several major geophysical ideas, says geochemist Hongzhan Fei. However, other deep-Earth critics argue that Fei's work is flawed and far-fetched.

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