Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Water in Earth's crust and upper mantle may not lubricate plate tectonics as much as previously assumed

Date:
June 12, 2013
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Water in olivin mineral reveals less important role.

Water in Earth's crust and upper mantle may not play such an important role as a lubricant of plate tectonics as previously assumed. This is a result geoscientists present in the current issue of the scientific journal Nature after the examination of water in the mineral olivine.

Related Articles


Laboratory experiments over the past three decades have suggested the presence of water greatly weakens the mechanical strength of the mineral olivine, a key component of the Earth's upper mantle. In a recent study led by the Bayerisches Geoinstitut in Bayreuth, the Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (SIMS) facility at the Potsdam based GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences was used to reassess the importance of water in defining the rigidity of olivine. While earlier studies were based on mineral aggregates, the SIMS method enabled a look at the role of water in single olivine crystals at the near-atomic scale.

Michael Wiedenbeck, who conducted the SIMS experiment at the GFZ: "We discovered that water has a much, much lower effect in terms of the mechanical weakening of olivine as previously believed. The new observations call for a reassessment of the role of water within the Earth's interior." One important consequence is that the earlier concept, indicating that water provides lubrication for continental drift, needs to be carefully reconsidered.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hongzhan Fei, Michael Wiedenbeck, Daisuke Yamazaki, Tomoo Katsura. Small effect of water on upper-mantle rheology based on silicon self-diffusion coefficients. Nature, 2013; 498 (7453): 213 DOI: 10.1038/nature12193

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Water in Earth's crust and upper mantle may not lubricate plate tectonics as much as previously assumed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612133136.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2013, June 12). Water in Earth's crust and upper mantle may not lubricate plate tectonics as much as previously assumed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612133136.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Water in Earth's crust and upper mantle may not lubricate plate tectonics as much as previously assumed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612133136.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

AP (Feb. 28, 2015) Researchers following endangered killer whales spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low. (Feb. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bridge Collapses Due to Flooding in Bolivia

Bridge Collapses Due to Flooding in Bolivia

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 28, 2015) Heavy rain and flooding sweep through parts of Bolivia causing damage and leaves more than 2,000 people homeless. Sophia Soo reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

AFP (Feb. 27, 2015) More than 200 people have been killed in a series of avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall in Afghanistan. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) The presidents of France and the Philippines issue a joint appeal for a binding agreement on climate change. Katie Sargent reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins