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New Research: The Oceans Are Slowly Leaking Into the Earth

May 24th 19__Jon Christian__Filed Under: Earth & Energy
NASA/Victor Tangermann

Drain Plug

The Earth’s oceans are gradually leaking into the interior of the planet.

That’s according to new research by Norwegian scientists, who told New Scientist that the Earth’s water is slowly draining into the planet’s crust — though nowhere near fast enough to cancel out the sea level rises we’re currently experiencing because of climate change.

Rapid Subduction

The new research, published in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, found that the rate at which the oceans are draining into the Earth spiked about 150 million years ago — when the supercontinent Pangaea split up.

“You have much more rapid subduction when you break up a supercontinent,” University of Oslo researcher Krister Karlsen told New Scientist. “The rapid subduction is crucial for bringing water in hydrated rock deep into the mantle.”

Prognosis

At their current rate, according to New Scientist, the oceans will be completely sucked dry in about 12 billion years.

But that doesn’t mean there’s any cause for concern, the magazine points out: the Sun itself will be long gone by then.

READ MORE: The oceans are very slowly draining into the rock below Earth’s crust [New Scientist]

More on the oceans: Diver Reaches Record Ocean Depth — and Finds a Plastic Bag