Earth Devouring Its Own Oceans!!! Film at 11.

Guest oy vey by David Middleton

First we learn that climate change is dissolving the seafloor and now we find out that Earth is devouring its own oceans (like it could be devouring some other planet’s oceans)… And it’s three times as bad as “previously thought” (is it ever three times better than previously thought?).

Live Science Planet Earth

The Earth Is Eating Its Own Oceans

By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | November 14, 2018

As Earth’s tectonic plates dive beneath one another, they drag three times as much water into the planet’s interior as previously thought.

Those are the results of a new paper published today (Nov. 14) in the journal Nature. Using the natural seismic rumblings of the earthquake-prone subduction zone at the Marianas trench, where the Pacific plate is sliding beneath the Philippine plate, researchers were able to estimate how much water gets incorporated into the rocks that dive deep below the surface. [In Photos: Ocean Hidden Beneath Earth’s Surface]

The find has major ramifications for understanding Earth’s deep water cycle, wrote  marine geology and geophysics researcher Donna Shillington of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in an op-ed accompanying the new paper. Water beneath the surface of the Earth can contribute to the development of magma and can lubricate faults, making earthquakes more likely, wrote Shillington, who was not involved in the new research.


And that raises some questions: The water that goes down must come up, usually in the contents of volcanic eruptions. The new estimate of how much water is going down is larger than estimates of how much is being emitted by volcanos, meaning scientists are missing something in their estimates, the researchers said.  There is no missing water in the oceans, Cai said. That means the amount of water dragged down into the crust and the amount spouted back out should be about equal. The fact that they aren’t suggests that there’s something about how water moves through the interior of Earth that scientists don’t yet understand.

“Many more studies need to be focused on this aspect,” Cai said.

Live Science


Well, at least they aren’t blaming this on climate change or President Trump.

All seriousness aside, this is how plate tectonics work.  In the absences of oceans, plate tectonics might not be possible.

Water plays an important role in mantle convection. In the ductile creep regime, the viscosity of wet rocks is weaker than the viscosity of dry rocks by several orders of magnitude. In the brittle regime, the most substantial effect is probably serpentinization which can reduce the friction coefficient by a factor of 2 or more. The difference between the strength of a wet lithosphere and that of a dry lithosphere seems to be big enough to control the very existence of plate tectonics. Because of dehydration due to partial melting the oceanic lithosphere is expected to be essentially dry above some critical depth, around 60-80 km. This would make the lithosphere strong enough to prevent plate motion. Percolation of water from the surface can be the main mechanism supplying water to the upper parts of the lithosphere. This implies that liquid water can be crucial for maintaining plate tectonics. On the other hand, the surface temperature is above the freezing point because of the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. A simple model shows that if the blackbody temperature of the Earth is slightly below the freezing point of water, the feedback between plate tectonics, volcanism, and water and carbon cycles can result in an equilibrium state in which the surface temperature is established within the stability field of liquid water.

Solomatov, 2001

The fact that there’s no water missing from the oceans simply means that the Earth must also be spewing out three times as much water vapor (and other gases) from volcanic sources than previously thought.  One of the “other gases” emitted by volcanoes is the evil, climate wrecking carbon dioxide.  Wouldn’t it be “funny” if volcanoes accounted for three times as much of the CO2 in the atmosphere than previously thought?  But then again, they wouldn’t notice it… because volcanoes aren’t in the flashlight beam…

JC at the National Press Club, Climate Etc.


The article was actually fairly well written, but the headline was simply stupid.

The role that subducted water plays in plate tectonics isn’t really a “new thing.” Why on Earth would a competent science journalist title the article, “The Earth Is Eating Its Own Oceans”?

Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity.

That’s why.


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Steve R
November 15, 2018 3:12 pm

Any reporter who has “poked lava with a stick” is A-OK in my book.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Steve R
November 15, 2018 4:33 pm

“where the Pacific plate is sliding beneath the Philippine plate, researchers were able to estimate how much water gets incorporated into the rocks that dive deep below the surface”

As our satellites indicate that all oceans are getting larger, where is subduction even a thing? Has anybody actually ever measured movement in that direction? I think not. There are lots of rationalizations that solid magma will “dive” down into the mantle, being denser as a solid, but the “diving” would be quickly countered by heating and melting. Such a system is not sustainable, to use the vernacular of the current generation.

The idea that a lot of water and all the mud on the ocean bottom would be taken down with the supposedly subjecting cold magma is ridiculous. The water would have plenty of time to escape, as would the mud. At subduction zones, there has to be huge mountains of mud scraped from the magma floor as it subducts. We see nothing of the kind. Subduction is a myth, particularly as our satellites show that the continents and oceans are all getting larger. If the continents are getting larger, the oceans must be getting smaller, but that is not what we see. There is a serious flaw in the above paper.

The contention that lot of water is subducted smacks of alarmism, as the cogent response to the idea that the water might serve to lubricate tectonic movement and earthquakes, is “so what?” There is absolutely nothing we can do about such a thing and knowing of this supposed phenomenon does not help us in any way. No one can possibly use this information to predict earthquakes and such. Yawn.

Steve R
Reply to  Charles Higley
November 15, 2018 4:44 pm

“The idea that a lot of water and all the mud on the ocean bottom would be taken down with the supposedly subjecting cold magma is ridiculous. The water would have plenty of time to escape, as would the mud.”

Yet we continue to see hot spots and spreading centers produce more mafic extrusions while subduction zones produce more felsic extrusions.

Reply to  Charles Higley
November 15, 2018 4:46 pm

Is the Pacific plate sliding under the Philippine plate OR is the Philippine plate sliding over the Pacific plate?

Steve R.
Reply to  toorightmate
November 15, 2018 5:19 pm

“Is the Pacific plate sliding under the Philippine plate OR is the Philippine plate sliding over the Pacific plate?”


James Bull
Reply to  Steve R.
November 16, 2018 1:07 am

That reminds me of the old ad for Unipart which was
“The answers YES now what’s the question?”
To which we asked
“You don’t have the part I want do you?”

James Bull

Reply to  toorightmate
November 16, 2018 7:57 am

It depends which one you are standing on, unless the subduction speeds are relativistic. For that case try Einsteins thought experiment regarding the train passing through a station at close to the speed of light. (in the UK they may do this because they can’t jam any more passengers on).

Ron Long
Reply to  Charles Higley
November 15, 2018 4:50 pm

Charles, there is actually a lot of evidence for the various movements associated with plate tectonics. The scraped off sediments are called melanges, and they are common, especially if the denser plate obducts (slide up over the less dense continental plate). There are measurements of plate convergence and either missing subducting plate (but an arc of volcanoes directly in front of the subduction) or plate collision and tremendous mountain-building (Himalayas or Rockies, for instance. There are a lot of plate reconstruction data such as dinosaur fauna separated now by an ocean, geologic trends, such as detrital diamonds in Brazil projecting offshore of Africa, etc. I am not aware of any current Geology Department at any University not currently teaching Plate Tectonics.

Reply to  Charles Higley
November 15, 2018 6:06 pm

Charles, you are just wrong.
Take a geology class or ten.
Or just read some stuff on plate tectonics which is readily available on the interwebs.
The mid ocean ridges are spreading centers, creating new oceanic crust on a continuous basis.
And the movements are very well known and accurately measured for each of the continents.
We can see in the chain of older and older islands and seamounts north and west of Hawaii that the oceanic crust is moving steadily and has been for a very long time, and also when the direction of motion changed some a while back, as a bend in the line.
A new seamount is forming just East of the big island of Hawaii, but is still below the surface of the ocean.
Similarly, the Yellowstone hotspot can be see to be moving eastward as North American plate moves west. The track of it’s past locations is marked in part by the Snake River valley.
There are scads of ways to prove it is happening, even if you can think of an alternative explanation for the Marianas Trench, and for island arcs, etc.
In fact, there are now imaging studies of the subducting plates, as well as ones that are already almost completely subducted, such as the Juan de Fuca plate which, is the tiny remnant of the once vast Fallaron plate, which is itself now almost completely gone under North America
Parts of it extend all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, and northward to the middle of North America.
The collision and subduction of this plate, and the accretion of archipelagos and island arcs an be evidenced all over the western US and Canada, including the Cascadia volcanoes, the Rocky Mountains, the Basin and Range region…pretty much the whole west, and was how the center of our continent went from a huge inland sea to a huge elevated and mountainous half of a continent.
You really need to read more, or something.

Here is a modelled image of the Falloran plate inside of the Earf:
comment image

This is exactly the sort of noncontroversial stuff that you can start with Wikipedia for, and follow the links and look at the references for further reading.
Or you can just look at a map of the ocean floor, and pretty much see what is happening…iffen you open your eyes.

Seismic tomography primer:

Map of ocean floor, in high detail:

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Menicholas
November 15, 2018 8:58 pm

Charles isn’t denying plate tectonics. He doesn’t know that subduction means plate tectonics or at least part of it. The real argument is that the water can’t be disappearing because there is the same amount of water in our system as there always was. The oceans have been rising for > 15000 years. This is another fake headlind by a reporter that is only looking for sensationalism. The study is looking for more funding because of a false premise. They even admit this in their own study with the following quote:

“There is no missing water in the oceans, Cai said. That means the amount of water dragged down into the crust and the amount spouted back out should be about equal. The fact that they aren’t suggests that there’s something about how water moves through the interior of Earth that scientists don’t yet understand.”

And if you dig deeper into the paper you will find this howler:

“The authors analysed seismic waves from distant earthquakes, recorded by an array of seismometers on the sea floor. This allowed them to model seismic-wave speeds to much greater depths (albeit at lower resolution) than is possible using controlled-source seismic data.”

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO in the end this conclusion was based on a computer model.

Gordon Lehman
Reply to  Menicholas
November 15, 2018 10:16 pm

“Similarly, the Yellowstone hotspot can be see to be moving eastward as North American plate moves west.”

Not really. There are lots of Eocene volcanics in the vicinity of Yellowstone, indicating that the hot spot was well established at its current surface location back then. There is no surface evidence of any hot spot progression up the Columbia River until Miocene time. In the Miocene, MORB style basalts extrude up the Columbia. This is more suggestive of an extensive failed arm.

Reply to  Gordon Lehman
November 16, 2018 1:57 am

Not all volcanics are hot-spot related. The Eocene Absaroka volcanics are very different from the recent rhyolitic volcanics, and there was a 30+ million long pause between them.

If the Yellowstone hotspot had been there continuously since the Eocene Wyoming would be looking like Olympus Mons.

Reply to  Charles Higley
November 16, 2018 1:45 am

” Has anybody actually ever measured movement in that direction? ”

Yes. Plate movements are well within the measuring capabilities of GPS as well as SLR (Satellite Laser Ranging) and VLBI (Very Long Base Interferometry).

Gordon Lehman
Reply to  tty
November 16, 2018 8:50 am

The point is that there is no evidence for Hawaiian style hotspot motion up the Columbia to Yellowstone. A parsimonious explanation is that current Yellowstone energy is just reactivation of Laramide features.

Reply to  Gordon Lehman
November 17, 2018 12:57 pm

One thing about plate tectonics is the vast number of separate lines of evidence.
I would not personally swear to each and every one of them as having been proven beyond doubt, nor is it necessary to do so to see that disproving or finding fault or inconsistency with any one aspect or line of evidence does nothing to undermine the entire theory.

Michael Perse
Reply to  Charles Higley
November 16, 2018 1:29 pm

“satellites show that the continents AND the oceans are ALL getting larger.” Better think that one through again, unless you think the total surface area of this sphere we call earth is getting larger at the same time.

John Endicott
Reply to  Michael Perse
November 19, 2018 8:54 am

In theory, it could be. That theory even has a name “The Expanding Earth theory”. Though Plate tectonics pretty much replaced that theory long ago. But like “the Flat Earth”, some theories never die but instead keep shambling on like zombies.

Reply to  Steve R
November 15, 2018 5:45 pm

Mr. Middleton, a correction Sir,

Well, at least they aren’t blaming this on climate change or President Trump ….. YET!

Uncle Max
Reply to  ColA
November 15, 2018 6:15 pm

” President Trump’s Climate denial is causing the earth’s crust to …. retain water and gain more weight due to stress ! ” also, ” Barbara Streisand not the only one retaining water due to the Trump Presidency! Earth’s crust subsiding now with 3x the water retained! ” ” Doom” !

Reply to  Uncle Max
November 15, 2018 6:29 pm

Thanks Max, my correction stands corrected!!

Reply to  Uncle Max
November 15, 2018 6:53 pm

Someone needs to tell Barbara that it is not Trump making her gain weight, it is all that fat she is layering onto her body at such a prodigious rate.

Richard G.
Reply to  Uncle Max
November 16, 2018 11:42 am

The Earth has a powerful thirst, and it is always happy hour some where on the globe.
The universal truth learned in pubs everywhere is that tasty beverages are not ever sold, they are only rented.

old construction worker
Reply to  Richard G.
November 16, 2018 4:56 pm

or recycled

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Steve R
November 16, 2018 9:34 am

If any reporter who propagandizes (spelled “c-o-m-m-u-n-i-c-a-t-i-o-n”) about “science” would just go a step further and not only poke a stick in, but jump into, lava, I’d be perfectly happy with that.

John Endicott
Reply to  AGW is not Science
November 19, 2018 9:04 am

Careful, comments like that leave a bad impression (even when said in jest). Leave the death wish fantasies to the greenie 10:10 crowd

Tom Halla
November 15, 2018 3:16 pm

The science reporting version of “if it bleeds, it leads”? Scary headlines are the norm, unfortunately.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  Tom Halla
November 15, 2018 3:51 pm

The continents, oceans, and vast deposits of limestone are all products of plate tectonics. In subduction zones, subducted seafloor (basalt) partially melts, liberating granitic magma, water, and CO2. The granitic magma forms continents, the water makes up the oceans, and the CO2, (which is later removed from the atmosphere by shelled organisms) becomes limestone.

When you look at the vast amount of granite in our continents, the volume of water in the seas, and enormous limestone deposits on our planet, you get a feel for just how long 4.5 billion years is.

Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
November 15, 2018 5:01 pm

I think there are vast amounts of everything in our continents.
And vast amounts more (vaster amounts) under them.
The Earth is big.
I bet if you were spelunking around in a cave one fine day and found Alladin’s Lamp, and Barbara Eden popped out and gave you your three wishes (and then some…*hubba hubba*), and for one of them you asked for all of the diamonds on and in the Earth to be dropped in your back yard, you might find, even though they are pretty rare, that you need a new house because your old one is crushed under a mountain of diamonds.
Now, how much water is on Earth, really?
One way to look at it is how think are the oceans in comparison to the diameter of the planet.
Some well know math calculates that the crust of the Earth is, proportionally speaking, about half as thick as an apple skin (an apple skin is about 0.3mm thick) which is as thick as a human hair (although I am not sure if that is someone with really course black hair or much thinner blond hair…nor am I even certain what body region they are using for their calculations, but anyways…), which is very thin. I leave it for each your homework to calculate the proportion of the volume of the apple to the volume of the skin.
But the crust, in miles, is 31 or so miles thick on average, and the ocean about a twelfth of that, at about 2.6 miles.
So the oceans are only, proportionally speaking, about 1/25th as thick as a human hair sitting on an apple.
Very little of it.
And the whole Earth is mostly minerals, some of which are hydrous minerals.
In fact, it is the water than lowers the melting point of the rocks in subductions zones and gives us island arcs and just about all of the volcanoes on Earth, as the volatiles are squeezed out and allow the materials formed by the combination of the volatiles and the mantle minerals to be light enough and with low enough viscosity to rise up through the crust…which otherwise only happens at midocean ridge spreading centers, and of course the mantle plume hotspots…of which there are few.
So it is a damn good thing we have that water being subducted.
And no big mystery to conclude that we do not know nearly enough about what is underground and within the Earth to conclude anything is missing or out of balance.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  Menicholas
November 15, 2018 6:07 pm


Reply to  Menicholas
November 16, 2018 6:39 am

Plus, last I heard the presumed subduction mechanism was associated with crustal compression, shearing, heating, burial, pressure rise, compaction, which tends to create copious hydrothermal systems and the highest geotherms on earth, plus water and stream exhales profusely from volcanic systems (mostly underwater), along with … eeek! … CO2.

Oh for shame planet Earth!

i.e. don’t call us Stephanie, we’ll call you.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
November 16, 2018 9:09 am

Somehow 4.5 billion years feels such a short period of time after enduring just 40 years of climate change hysteria.

Did these loons ever think about why the Earth’s water hadn’t all disappeared geological ages ago if the world’s volcanoes and subduction zones were drinking it all or am I just asking a stupid question?

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 16, 2018 9:50 am

No more stupid a question than why, if we’re supposed to worry about 400ppm CO2 causing a “runaway global warming/greenhouse effect” didn’t the Earth already experience such a thing a long time ago, when CO2 levels were much higher?

November 15, 2018 3:18 pm

Well, I hate to say we predicted this ‘Thallasophagous Gaia’ hypothepanic (because we didn’t).

But we did predict:

“Is the Even Younger Dryas upon us?”

As sea level rise continues to defy expectations, tracking almost 1m (3ft.) below ensemble model projections, science’s latest fear is that the Earth’s surface will be completely dry by the year 51000.

An all-star scientific letter to the NNY Times, headlined ‘If we fail to act, what will our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren’s […] grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren think of us?,’ takes up two pages of the venerable broadsheet (mainly because of its title).

Reply to  Brad Keyes
November 15, 2018 3:45 pm

The ‘Evendryascanbe’.

November 15, 2018 3:22 pm

Wait… “Any water that goes down must come up!’? Who says so.

Michael S. Kelly, LS, BSA, Ret.
Reply to  jimA
November 15, 2018 7:58 pm

That’s a direct application of Newton’s [little known] Fourth Law: “What goes down, must come up – and vice versa.”

Bryan A
Reply to  jimA
November 15, 2018 8:03 pm

And just like all water that is passed, it emerges in the Yellow River

irritable Bill
November 15, 2018 3:25 pm

I say the warmists will now claim that this phenomenon is the cause for near zero rise in ocean volumes….and that this proves global warming is much worse than previously thought. Three times worse I guess.

November 15, 2018 3:28 pm

Wow! Looks like we are going to get sea levels dropping. Another disaster to worry about.

Reply to  Alasdair
November 15, 2018 3:33 pm

Next glaciation, we’ll lose 150 meters for sure … just like the previous glaciation.

bill johnston
Reply to  Alasdair
November 15, 2018 6:44 pm

“sea levels dropping”. And algore just laughs.

November 15, 2018 3:31 pm

“Earth’s ‘underground oceans’ could have three times more water than the surface.” link I assume they are including the oceans as surface water. Three times that much hidden underground is simply gobsmacking.

The discovery could explain exactly why the Earth is so habitable, with scientists suggesting that this underground store of water – which is trapped in minerals – has acted as a buffer, keeping the Earth’s oceans at roughly the same levels for hundreds of millions of years.

My brain hurts.

When I read the story above talking about the oceans losing water to underground, I wondered how much water could you really lose to underground. If there’s that much underground water, it kinda changes things.

Reply to  commieBob
November 15, 2018 5:16 pm

See my observation regarding the relative volumes of the oceans and the Earth as a whole.
The oceans are not even the pus in the zits on a gnat sitting on an elephants tush.
Comparatively speaking.
In raw numbers, volume of the ocean: 1,500,000,000 cubic kilometers. 1.5 billion. A lot.
Volume of the Earth___________________ 137,200,000,000,000,000,000 cubic kilometers. 137.2 quintillion cubic kilometers. A real lot.
It would take almost 92 billion earth oceans to fill up a volume the size of the Earth.
(although I think the second number includes the first number, but it is less than a rounding error…and I did round)

So there are plenty of places for an ocean or three to hide inside the Earf.

Bryan A
Reply to  Menicholas
November 15, 2018 8:07 pm

It is good you rounded because the Earth is. Otherwise you would have needed to include a flattening error.

Reply to  Menicholas
November 16, 2018 8:11 am

I think your volume of Earth is off by a lot. Your volume of the oceans is in the ballpark.
I calculate the volume of Earth is 1,083,000,000,000 cubic kilometres rounded.
volume of sphere = 4/3π x radius cubed
radius of Earth for volume = 6,371 km
Ocean volume estimated at 1,330,000,000 cubic kilometres.
Estimated then it would take about 815 earth oceans to fill up a volume the size of the Earth.

Reply to  Terry
November 16, 2018 10:25 am

Thank you. It pains me that I didn’t think to check the numbers.

Reply to  Terry
November 17, 2018 1:11 pm

I confess I did not double check the source.
I should have just calculated it myself.

Reply to  commieBob
November 15, 2018 5:42 pm

“That means the amount of water dragged down into the crust and the amount spouted back out should be about equal. The fact that they aren’t suggests “……their measurements and predictions are wrong

Reply to  Latitude
November 15, 2018 6:09 pm

Just more conceit that anyone thinks they have enough information to even begin to make such a calculation.
Just yesterday I was reading about how the numbers everyone has been using for the amount of CO2 coming out of volcanoes is likely off by at least a factor of three…because everyone just uses the numbers estimated by one method and only used the amounts emitted during eruptions, when it fact there is a continuous seep.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Latitude
November 15, 2018 6:19 pm

The next question of course is what else don’t they know.

William Astley
November 15, 2018 3:35 pm

In reply to

“There is no missing water in the oceans, Cai said. That means the amount of water dragged down into the crust and the amount spouted back out should be about equal. ‘

No it means there is another source of water.

The liquid core of the planet contains liquid CH4. This liquid CH4 is extruded from the liquid core of the planet when the core solidifies.

The liquid CH4 that is extruded from the earth’s core when it solidifies provides the force to break and move the ocean crust.

There are geological physical observations (such as the multiple specific bituminous coal seam observations) that prove that massive amounts of CH4 have moved up from deep in the earth.

What I am saying above is from the Sloan deep carbon conference and the late Thomas Gold’s book.

It is believed the core of the planet started to solidify roughly a billion years ago.

At that time there would be a large increase in extruded liquid CH4 which explains why there is a sudden increase in continent crust building at that time. The sudden increase in continental crust building and the increase in water on the planet at the time is the likely explanation for the Cambrian ‘explosion’ of complex life forms.

The continuous release of CH4 up into the mantel and into the biosphere explains why the earth is 70% covered with water even though there is continuous removal of water from the earth’s atmosphere by the solar wind.

Organic metals form in the very, very, high pressure liquid CH4. The organic metals drop at specific pressures.

The forced movement of the super high-pressure liquid CH4 from the liquid core and drop out of the organic metals at specific pressures explains why there is heavy metal concentration in the crust of in some cases a million times more concentrated than the mantel.

The same mechanism explains why there is helium in some natural gas fields and oil fields. The helium is produced from radioactive decay of the concentrated Uranium and Thorium that drops out at specific pressures. The super high pressure CH4 that is moving through the mantel provides a path for the helium gas to move up to higher locations where the natural gas and oil are found.

The same mechanism also explains why the tectonic plate movement has double in speed in the last billion years.

The above mechanism explains why there are seismic evidence of lines in the mantel. The lines are tubes formed by the CH4 movement to the surface.

The earth was hit by a Mars size object roughly 100 million years after its formation. That impact formed the moon, stripped the early earth of its atmosphere, and heated the surface of the early earth to roughly 1800C.

The Mar size impact stripped the mantel of the light elements and caused the heavy elements to sink to the core. The CH4 in the stored in the liquid in the core of the planet is what brought life to our planet when the core started to solidify. That explains the delay in the formation of advanced life.

Advanced life requires CH4 to move from the core to the surface to create sedimentary rock, to create the continents, and to create the oceans.

Reply to  William Astley
November 15, 2018 4:01 pm

Since none of your supporting “facts” come even close to being true, it puts your conclusions into peril.

Reply to  William Astley
November 15, 2018 4:30 pm

All you need for sedimentary rocks is erosion.
And no one knows how the Earth got it’s ocean.

I think Mr. Astley could simply say, “If everything was not the way it is and was, things would be different”, and call it a night.

William Astley
Reply to  Menicholas
November 15, 2018 7:44 pm

Erosion requires elevation differences.

There was been an unexplained 200% increase in mid-ocean seismic activity period B for the entire planet as compared to period A. The changes in mid-ocean seismic activity highly correlated with the temperature changes in the period.

Prior to the observation that the mid-ocean earthquakes increased by 200%, the standard belief was that it is not physically possible for the frequency of earthquakes to increase by 200% for a long-term period.

It was believed that earthquake occurrence was/should be statistical (random, chaos).

Based on the fact there are no geological mechanisms that could suddenly change to increase heating in the earth.

And even if there was a mechanism to increase heating in the earth: the heating would be regional, not for the whole earth.

And lastly even if there was a means to increase heating of the earth, heating changes to the earth due to the mass of the earth, would be very, very slow and changes would occur over long periods of time, not a ramp up of two years.

The earth’s mid-seismic activity has abruptly dropped back down to the lower activity in period B.

Period A: 1979 to 1995

Period B :1996 to 2016 (More than 200% increase in mid-ocean seismic activity)

The observed changes in mid-ocean seismic activity are orders of magnitude too large and too fast for all of the current geological mechanisms to explain.

The assumed energy input for the mantel and core (radioactivity, material phase change, reactions) cannot physically change in that time scale/entire planet and even if they did change could not appreciably change temperatures to affect mid-ocean seismic activity for the entire planet.

It is physical impossible for the current standard geological model (and its assumptions) to explain the sudden and astonishingly large increase and decrease in mid-ocean seismic activity.

As noted in the paper below, increase in mid-ocean seismic activity closely correlates with ocean temperature changes for the entire period.

Two previous studies, The Correlation of Seismic Activity and Recent Global Warming (CSARGW) and the Correlation of Seismic Activity and Recent Global Warming: 2016 Update (CSARGW16), documented a high correlation between mid-ocean seismic activity and
global temperatures from 1979 to 2016 [1,2]. As detailed in those studies, increasing seismic activity in these submarine volcanic complexes is a proxy indicator of heightened underwater geothermal flux, a forcing mechanism that destabilizes the overlying water column. This forcing
accelerates the thermohaline circulation while enhancing thermobaric convection [3-6]. This, in turn, results in increased heat transport into the Arctic (i.e., the “Arctic Amplification”), a prominent feature of earth’s recent warming [7-9]. .

there is a 95% probability that global temperatures in 2019 will decline by 0.47°C ± 0.21°C from their 2016 peak. In other words, there is a 95% probability that 2019 temperatures will drop to levels not seen since the mid-1990s.

This new data which changes this discussion. The new data supports the assertions discussed at the Sloan Deep earth conference that the earth’s liquid core which is roughly the size of the moon, contains liquid CH4 in solution with nickel and iron is correct.

Plate Tectonics: too weak to build mountains

“In 2002 it could be said that: “Although the concept of plates moving on Earth’s surface is universally accepted, it is less clear which forces cause that motion. Understanding the mechanism of plate tectonics is one of the most important problems in the geosciences”8. A 2004 paper noted that “considerable debate remains about the driving forces of the tectonic plates and their relative contribution”40. “Alfred Wegener’s theory of continental drift died in 1926, primarily because no one could suggest an acceptable driving mechanism. In an ironical twist, continental drift (now generalized to plate tectonics) is almost universally accepted, but we still do not understand the driving mechanism in anything other than the most general terms”2.”

“The advent of plate tectonics made the classical mantle convection hypothesis even more untenable. For instance, the supposition that mid-oceanic ridges are the site of upwelling and trenches are that of sinking of the large scale convective flow cannot be valid, because it is now established that actively spreading, oceanic ridges migrate and often collide with trenches”14. “Another difficulty is that if this is currently the main mechanism, the major convection cells would have to have about half the width of the large oceans, with a pattern of motion that would have to be more or less constant over very large areas under the lithosphere. This would fail to explain the relative motion of plates with irregularly shaped margins at the Mid-Atlantic ridge and Carlsberg ridge, and the motion of small plates, such as the Caribbean and the Philippine plates”19. .

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  William Astley
November 15, 2018 11:02 pm

“The earth’s mid-seismic activity has abruptly dropped back down to the lower activity in period B.

Period A: 1979 to 1995

Period B :1996 to 2016 (More than 200% increase in mid-ocean seismic activity)”

The top statement doesn’t jive with the bottom statement.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
November 15, 2018 11:44 pm

You forgot to mention the reason that your top statement doesn’t jive with the bottom one. I read part of Viterito’s paper. In it he says:

“A striking development for this experiment is that 2017 marks the first three-year decline in HGFA seismic activity since 1979 (Figure 2). Furthermore, the 2017 HGFA seismic count is 49% lower than the study period’s peak frequency in 2014, the year of the last “Super El Niño”.

So seismic activity has nothing to do with being caused by ocean heating. it is the other way around. You however said :

“As noted in the paper below, increase in mid-ocean seismic activity closely correlates with ocean temperature changes for the entire period.”

Viterito doesn’t give the reason for changes in seismic activity but it can’t be because the oceans are hotter. The oceans are a tiny blip on the surface.

However the oceans may be a little hotter at certain times because of seismic activity, the exact opposite of your quote above. This would make all study of ocean heat content irrelevant. There is nothing that can be done about seismic activity but if that is what is causing a tiny change in ocean heat content, then we don’t even need to study it. Another nail in the WHERE DID THE MISSING HEAT GO theory ?

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
November 15, 2018 11:55 pm

Okay Mr Astley Sorry to have misread you. I now realize that you were simply giving a timeline of all the theories. The Sloan Deep Earth conference and its explanation of the theory of CH4 causing seismic activity may well be true, but it doesnt explain the cyclical changes of seismic activity. Or does it? Please enlighten us.

Gordon Lehman
Reply to  William Astley
November 16, 2018 9:05 am

Interesting. I have not heard the methane explanation, but we are definitely in the market for a tectonic driver. Seismic tomography shows the old notion of mantle convection to be a fairy tale. MOR melt is very shallow and not connected to anything below. Much the same for the Hawaiian hot spot.

Water is required for the formation of granite and serpentine, the lighter stuff that forms continents. Some folks peg the timing of widespread ocean development to widespread granite formation in subduction zones.

Reply to  William Astley
November 15, 2018 5:58 pm

When I took Sagen’s astronomy class in the late 70’s, Gold did some guest lectures and they were always interesting. His basic concept of non biological hydrocarbons certainly has merit. Natural gas whose principle component is methane, doesn’t need to have a biological origin and there’s a lot of non biological methane just in our solar system, the extent of which wasn’t even known at the time Gold formulated his hypothesis.

Just 1 ppm distributed throughout the mantel and core converts to about 10^15 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas which is enough to cover the surface of the Earth in a layer of liquid methane about 2 meters thick or a layer of gas about 1200 meters thick. If this exists and is exploitable, we will never run out, although it will probably end up being more economical to have nuclear powered space tankers ferrying methane from Titan.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 15, 2018 6:24 pm

Maybe just use the nuclear power to run things instead of the elaborate Rube Goldbergian method of construction spaceships and using nuclear reactors to run them and somehow get methane out of the gravity well of a moon which is many years from Earth, plus the delta vee to deliver it to Earth and then how to get it down here without it burning up. Oh, maybe build a space elevator, plus another on the moon with the methane, but then we still have people spending their lives fetching methane from Titan, which makes any work we saved as a collective species in not having to haul water from the river anymore look like a minimal effort by comparison.
Oh, hey…were you being sarcastic?
Hard to tell.

Reply to  Menicholas
November 15, 2018 6:41 pm

Not people, self replicating robots. Are /sarc tags really necessary? Besides, it’s more likely we go to Venus and harvest CO2 to keep agriculture from crashing as we enter the next inevitable ice age. OK, I can see how when sarcasm is mixed with some truth they can be hard to separate, but then again, that’s often the point.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 15, 2018 6:48 pm

It is often a large part of my points as well.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 15, 2018 7:42 pm

I was actually being sarcastic when I asked if you were being.
So there’s that, too.
But when I read that idea, my brain quickly began to calculate the likelihood of this being a viable idea.
Although if we can find a near earth asteroid that has a large amount of methane ice or methane hydrate on it, and some water mixed in, maybe we can coax the whole thing every to our ‘hood by attaching an ion rocket and shifting the orbit just so.
Although I think by the time we are able to do such things we may just be building habitats up there to save the trouble.
I used to be big on the space elevator idea, until I realized that people are nowhere near cooperative enough to make it work, and then there are terrorists…

Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 15, 2018 9:18 pm

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. And it still manages to go over everyone’s head!

Wait, Menicholas was just being metasarcastic. That’s OK then.

Shame co2isnotevil completely missed it.

Or… hang on minute…. maybe he quite brilliantly PRETENDED to!

Nah, just kidding, I knew that.

John the Econ
November 15, 2018 3:35 pm

“Water beneath the surface of the Earth can contribute to the development of magma and can lubricate faults, making earthquakes more likely…”

Seems to me that’s a good thing. Plate tectonics makes earthquakes inevitable. I think we’d rather have lots of more frequent small quakes than less frequent but more devastating mega quakes.

John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia
November 15, 2018 3:40 pm

No worries, out of Panthalassa came many oceans.

Sweet Old Bob
November 15, 2018 3:49 pm

This was a lot of Pap…..

James Carless
November 15, 2018 3:50 pm

I would prefer a less aggressive tone from WUWT. I have been a follower for 10 years or so. Thank you. Very much. I am interested in the science. Not really more than that. The science only. Overly strong opinions (from the same people) are a bit boring. David Middleton for example. This seems emotional rather than scientific. I think WUWT should continue to promote science and not emotion. It is also rude to the writer being criticized. I am not in favour of rudeness.

Reply to  James Carless
November 15, 2018 4:02 pm

Being rude toward the stupid isn’t that unusual. Perhaps you are familiar with the phenomena?

R Shearer
Reply to  MarkW
November 15, 2018 7:28 pm


Reply to  James Carless
November 15, 2018 4:43 pm

My observation is that WUWT has developed a more pointed focus towards emphasizing the stupid, since a pure focus on the science seems to get us nowhere fast. The smart keep talking about the science, and the stupid keep ignoring the science.

What’s a blog to do ?

Reply to  James Carless
November 15, 2018 5:37 pm

Overly strong opinions (from the same people) are a bit boring. David Middleton for example. This seems emotional rather than scientific. I think WUWT should continue to promote science and not emotion.

Just today I wanted to brush up on the concept of “Peak Oil.” My first thought was to come to WUWT and search for articles by Middleton on the subject. I did so and I left satisfied that my study had been fruitful, i.e., I knew more than when I came, and what I learned was good and worthwhile knowledge. Why?

Because the data-driven, evidence based approach that Middleton employs in his articles and comments is very well done, or so it seems to me. Now I’m with you that this one might be a bit lax on the evidence side, but you don’t find that often from him. And wouldn’t you agree that sometimes producing evidence to refute stupid is just bad stewardship of one’s time? Does he really have to approach this particular nonsense scientifically? Maybe a better criticism might be the production of this article in the first place, but in my humble opinion, not his approach to it.

R Shearer
Reply to  David Middleton
November 15, 2018 7:34 pm

You are right. Part two of Stephanie’s series could be: Don’t look, Gaia has gonads.

Reply to  David Middleton
November 16, 2018 1:13 am

“Presently 97% of all scientists agree that human beings are wholly responsible for the CAOG (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Ocean Gobbling) which is literally eating away at the ocean basins, within our life times, and dwindling the planetary heritage of all of our children.” – UN IPCC

Reply to  James Carless
November 15, 2018 5:37 pm

As we can see James, “The Science”, to use the term so loosely it fell out of our hands in June of 1988, is now being published by people with undergraduate degrees in social sciences, which is an even looser usage of the word science.
Writers what use their sciencey writing to chicksplain their mangled version of basic geology, while she layers on some inane silliness to her misapprehensions.

Reply to  Menicholas
November 16, 2018 7:39 am

At least she got her undergraduate degree from the fantastic University of South Carolina.

Reply to  James Carless
November 15, 2018 5:38 pm

As an aside, I hear tell that people in Hell prefer ice water.

R Shearer
Reply to  Menicholas
November 15, 2018 7:35 pm

And all they get is salt water with fish poo.

Gary Ashe
Reply to  Menicholas
November 16, 2018 6:46 am

Yeah in progressive hell its called kool-aid

November 15, 2018 3:50 pm

A PR blurb

says, “3 BILLION TERRAGRAMS of water was ingested by the earths crust by every million years”

converting to metric tons, and estimating the daily consumption this magnificent number becomes just 10 m of water sitting on central park.

Why mention a million years and grams? Numbers game. Poor science excellent PR

Reply to  ChrisB
November 15, 2018 9:32 pm

Oh, yes a teragram is 10^12 grams or 10^6 tonnes so 1 teragram/million-yr = 1 metric-ton/yr , so 3 billion teragrams/year gives us 3 cubic-kilometers / year , and if i have heard right around 550 cubic-kilometrers of meltwater run off the Greenland glacier into the Atlantic Ocean each year . 3 cubic-kilometers would not be visible in any sea level change estimates that are possible to do at present time.

Steve R
November 15, 2018 3:52 pm

Perhaps the water in the oceans is being devoured at about the same rate that the volume of the continents are increasing.

Reply to  Steve R
November 15, 2018 6:28 pm

Plus plusses.

Reply to  Steve R
November 15, 2018 9:40 pm

No is it not even close, compare it f.x . to how much seawater is desalinated annually today around 90 km^3 if i have heard right, against the 3 km^3 annually “drunk up” by Gaia.

Reply to  Björn
November 17, 2018 1:24 pm

90 cubic kilometers sounds like a lot of water to me.
To make heavy rocks into lighter rocks by adding some salt and water and other volatiles to the original heavy rock, mostly heavy rock is used, and not as much of the lighter stuff, so I think it is a viable way to think of it.

November 15, 2018 3:54 pm


Yup, that is it, grams and million years. Wonderful PR.

Reply to  ChrisB
November 15, 2018 3:56 pm

Sorry for the duplicate. I could not see the early post. I could not delete or edit.

Reply to  ChrisB
November 15, 2018 6:31 pm

How many Hiroshimas is that?
It needs to be in familiarly scary terms so we can all be properly terrorified.

Reply to  Menicholas
November 15, 2018 9:26 pm

A terrorgram? How many Olympic-sized gorillagrams laid end-to-end on a Nagasaki football field is that?

Reply to  Brad Keyes
November 16, 2018 3:20 am

1 Harry.S.Trumangram = 2 nuclear terrorgrams = 45 terragram TNT.

R Davis
November 15, 2018 4:06 pm

The boiling point of water is 100C or 212F.
The temperature at the boundaries of the inner & outer core of the Earth is estimated to be 6,000C or 10,800F. That’s as hot as the surface of the sun.

Is it that man has industrially, for the last how many decades, pumped oil, natural gas & any other little thing of value out from under the surface of the planet & as a result those cavities have been filled by water ??

Reply to  R Davis
November 15, 2018 4:40 pm

what is the pressure at that boundary? The answer to that will tell you many answers. When the pressure is really high, a high temperature could simply mean that it progresses to the supercritical fluid state. In that environment it would have the approximate density of liquid water, so what difference would it make.

I had never seen that 6000C number before in fact it is about 6 times the highest number I had seen for that boundary. 1000C is the highest I have seen and more frequently see 200 – 400 C quoted. In the lower range it would stay water, and only nearing 400 would it become a supercritical fluid.

Reply to  OweninGA
November 16, 2018 3:40 am

I was looking at the mantle-crust boundary since that is where the subduction occurs.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  R Davis
November 15, 2018 4:46 pm

The temperature at the boundaries of the inner & outer core of the Earth is estimated to be 6,000C or 10,800F.

I have it on very good authority that the core is millions of degrees! You’re not going to tell me that his omniscience Man Bear Pig is wrong, are you?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  R Davis
November 15, 2018 5:33 pm

Core? WTF…. Inner or outer core??? — not a factor here.

We’re discussing the mantle and the crustal boundary layer.

R, Do you even realize the difference?

Reply to  R Davis
November 15, 2018 6:37 pm

I calculated at one time a few years back, that all of the oil ever removed from Earf is a volume about the size of a medium mountain.
Proportionally, if the Earth was a size of a cue ball, there are bacteria larger than Mount Everest would be at that scale.
We have 1.5 billion cubic kilometers of water on the surface of our planet.
“All” of the material we have ever removed from it is not even a spit in the ocean by comparison.
Well, OK, maybe if you hawked up a really big lugey…

Bryan A
Reply to  R Davis
November 15, 2018 8:13 pm
November 15, 2018 4:09 pm

“certificate in science communication”
I wonder if she wrote the headline?

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Bob Hoye
November 15, 2018 7:08 pm

Is that higher or lower than a participation trophy?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Bob Hoye
November 15, 2018 7:38 pm

Hey, can anyone tell me how one goes about getting one of them thar graduate certificates? Can you buy them on eBay?

R Shearer
Reply to  Bob Hoye
November 15, 2018 7:40 pm

Oh, she’s certified. That explains it.

November 15, 2018 4:18 pm

“Why on Earth would a competent science journalist title the article, “The Earth Is Eating Its Own Oceans”?

Yeah, no kidding. The title should read “The Earth Is DRINKING Its Own Oceans”. How do you eat water…Ok, I guess if it can always chew on ice. But still…maybe this is where all the missing ice is going? a little /sarc…

Reply to  Earthling2
November 15, 2018 4:47 pm

No — it’s where all the missing heat is going. [strong opinion, NOT science — sorry] /sarc

Reply to  Earthling2
November 15, 2018 6:40 pm

Well, it is mostly in the form of mud and hydrated rocks and minerals I think…
More or less like a slurpee.
Do you drink or eat a slurpee?

The Deplorable Vlad the Impaler
Reply to  Menicholas
November 16, 2018 6:29 am


Rod Evans
Reply to  Menicholas
November 16, 2018 12:45 pm

I slurp them

Reply to  Rod Evans
November 17, 2018 7:57 pm

That’ what she said…right before the divorce.

John Endicott
Reply to  Earthling2
November 19, 2018 9:22 am

“Eating the ocean” as an expression is probably ok, after all people “eat” soup and soups are mostly liquid. Though, as noted in the article the Earth eating it’s own ocean is a bit redundant as it’s hardly likely to be eating the oceans of other planets.

November 15, 2018 4:21 pm

Earth Devouring Its Own CO2 is far more scary. Thank God humans were able to put some of the CO2 back in the atmosphere so life as we know it can last a little bit longer.

Reply to  Robertvd
November 15, 2018 4:35 pm

For those who want to move to the State of Washington to escape California.

Great Earthquakes of the Pacific Northwest
Central Washington University geology professor Nick Zentner

Reply to  Robertvd
November 16, 2018 2:27 am

Yes. A big one might happen in the Northwest in the not-too-far future. Or it could lie half a millenium away.

The last one was on January 26, 1700 and the recurrence time seems to be on the order of 300-900 years. The average seems to be about 500 years.

Reply to  tty
November 16, 2018 6:02 am

That is the near future in geologic time… just sayin’ 🙂

Reply to  Robertvd
November 17, 2018 2:30 am

I love professor Nick Zentner & his public/YouTube presentations. He even invites the general public to sit in on his classes.

I just made a drive out to Oregon/Washington area from the East Coast & seeing his Columbia River Basalt Flood series made me look at the geographic features out there in a whole new perspective.

It’s been a few years – hope he starts another series.

November 15, 2018 4:38 pm

“Well, at least they aren’t blaming this on climate change or President Trump.”
I watch MSNBC just to see……if they are as left leaning as I’ve heard.
They generally don’t disappoint.

John Endicott
Reply to  u.k.(us)
November 19, 2018 9:24 am

So you are one of the 11 who watch them 😉

November 15, 2018 4:44 pm

It is quite elementary – someone has pulled the plug.
If Oh Bummer was still president he would have both the FBI and the CIA on the case by now.

November 15, 2018 4:44 pm

Thr earth is devouring its own oceans so please take climate action and save the earth. Bizarre!

It seems that a these kinds of fears about the ocean including ocean acidification and ohc derive from the PETM because they make sense only in the petm context.

Robert of Texas
November 15, 2018 5:01 pm

That water is constantly pulled down into the crust is a well known phenomenon. The fact that the Earth’s crust likely contains more water than all the lakes and oceans and ice put together is not so widely known. And I am not talking about “ground water” which is still in the form of liquid water (but there is much less of this than all the oceans combined), I am talking about water that has chemically combined with other minerals to produce all sorts of hydrates and new minerals. Gypsum for example contains water…

When “wet” mantle is dragged down into a subduction zone, much of the water is released in the form of water vapor. It can either combine with a mineral (under a huge amount of heat and pressure) or it can work upwards dissolved in magma. Actually, the presence of water helps magma (liquid rock) to form… Magma can form more easily when there is water present. As the magma rises, the pressure drops – when the pressure drops, the magma releases the water, sometimes explosively.

I have always been suspicious (without any proof, just instinct) that there is a lot more hot water flowing up under the ocean then so far estimated – so it does not surprise me they now seem to have “missing water” in their estimates. This super heated water forms the spectacular under-water vents and deep sea communities of odd creatures. It is stock full of dissolved minerals (and yes, CO2) that condense as the water cools and becomes over saturated.

It also does not surprise me – if the studies are reproduced and confirmed – that there is a lot of water locked into minerals much deeper than previously thought possible. (look up Ringwoodite for example)

Reply to  Robert of Texas
November 15, 2018 6:47 pm

Exactly Robert.
Gypsum, to use your example, has two H2O molecules for every molecule of the mineral it is composed of, calcium sulfate.
Other minerals have many times this number of water molecules, in particular things like serpentine and opal…but lots of others.
Concrete, Plaster of Paris…stuff like that has a lot of water in it.

The way I learned it, the water and other so-called volatiles are precisely what lowers the melting point of the mantle rocks to form our island arcs and most other volcanoes.
This material also makes the resulting melt far less viscous, which is how it makes it’s way to the surface through the crust from which these features emerge.

November 15, 2018 5:09 pm

“Well, at least they aren’t blaming this on climate change or President Trump.”

But it’s 3x worse since Trump got in !!!

November 15, 2018 5:17 pm

Maybe this is why those pesky oceans refuse to accelerate their rising and swamp us all!

Tom Judd
November 15, 2018 5:21 pm

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to pass a law to stop the Earth from eating its own oceans by 2010.

November 15, 2018 5:36 pm

Just testing a new Scare Tactic for when the climate change scare tactic fall apart. Hang Tight, film at midnight.And for sure a movie in the works.

Gary Mount
November 15, 2018 5:45 pm

What about the salt?

nw sage
November 15, 2018 5:58 pm

The idea that water can even exist as a vapor above the triple point is absurd and shows the author was never exposed to the concept of basic thermodynamics. Above the critical pressure and temperature water does a lot ov very strange things and reacts with many rocks and minerals in unique ways and is chemically captured. No real mystery about it though.

Smart Rock
November 15, 2018 6:56 pm

From the linguistic/grammatical pedantry department:

The Earth Is Eating Its Own Oceans

Shouldn’t that be “The Earth Is Drinking Its Own Oceans”?

Here’s a somewhat more serious thought from someone who has watched the astonishing evolution of geological knowledge over 5 decades: I submit that the “missing” water is probably being discharged from hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor that haven’t been mapped yet.

John Endicott
Reply to  Smart Rock
November 19, 2018 9:33 am

I submit that the “missing” water is probably being discharged from hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor that haven’t been mapped yet.

I submit the “missing” water is hanging out with Trenberth’s “missing” heat at the “hide the decline” bar and grill.

November 15, 2018 7:32 pm

“Many more studies need to be focused on this aspect,” Cai said.

Yes, there’s no question we need to pour even more prodigious sums of public money into “science” which adds to our ever-growing pile of useless knowledge about things that actually don’t matter.

November 15, 2018 7:49 pm

They now say that most of the water on earth is deep within the earth and could take part in the earth water cycle.

“It is estimated an additional 1.5 to eleven times the amount of water in the oceans is contained in the Earth’s interior, and some scientists have hypothesized that the water in the mantle is part of a “whole-Earth water cycle”.
The water in the mantle is dissolved in various minerals near the transition zone between Earth’s upper and lower mantle.”'s_mantle

November 15, 2018 8:10 pm

Soon there’ll be no oceans left. We’re doomed.

Franz Dullaart
November 15, 2018 8:23 pm

Fourth Law of Thermodynamics:

It’s ALWAYS Three Times Worse Than We Thought.

Gary Ashe
November 15, 2018 8:45 pm

Well at least Trenbreth knows where took look for his lost deep ocean heat now, down an ocean plug hole, whudda guessed, its like finding out yer best m8s innit.

Gary Ashe
November 15, 2018 8:47 pm

Well at least Trenbreth knows where to look for his lost deep ocean heat now, down an ocean plug hole, whudda guessed, its like finding out yer best m8s gay innit.

David Long
November 15, 2018 9:21 pm

It’s been hinted at above but I don’t think it’s been stated clearly: large amounts of liquid water are not being sucked down in subduction zones. What is going down is vast amounts of hydrous minerals, most commonly clays and chlorite but also many others. Even the seafloor basalts themselves undergo substantial deuteric (during magma cooling) alteration due to interaction with seawater resulting in hydrous minerals throughout.
As these minerals go down with the subducting slab and are subjected to increasing heat and pressure water is released and the minerals alter to less hydrous and then anhydrous species. Some of the resulting water finds its way into volcanic systems, but anywhere anyone drills, if you go below the groundwater (fresh water) level there is always salt water.
The deepest well I know of is this one, drilled in granite, still hitting salt water:

Reply to  David Long
November 17, 2018 1:49 pm

My understanding is that groundwater becomes salty over time just sitting down there.
And that therefore, all fresh groundwater is relatively recent.
Ogallala aquifer?
Pleistocene origin.
Not something I have researched in depth or anything, but it makes sense…water is the great dissolver.

November 15, 2018 9:23 pm

Isn’t this consistent with the alternative non-fossil theory of oil formation – water plus limestone under extreme pressure creates hydrocarbons – no animals or plants need to die.
Based on this theory the Russians in particular have made major discoveries of hydrocarbons/

David Long
Reply to  Gaz
November 16, 2018 12:48 am

I know the Russians, far from the continental margins, have approached oil and gas differently and done just fine. But it’s the passive margins, and relatively shallow, where western companies have found so much oil and gas. Too much heat and pressure and the oil breaks down and your left with just gas. Maybe some of those Russian deposits are ancient margins that have long since closed. Certainly Russian deposits are heavy on gas. I really don’t know much about them though, this is just of the top of the head conjecture.
I’m also not a chemist but I don’t see how you can get enough hydrogen to make hydrocarbons from just water and limestone. The liquid left behind is going to be as alkaline as bleach, and that’s just not what you find.

Reply to  David Long
November 16, 2018 2:44 am

The big russian fields in West Siberia have perfectly normal shaly source rock, the Jurassic Bazhenov shale, and the oil originated in the usual way as the Turgai Sea closed.

And if the Russians learn how to frack the Bazhenov shale OPEC is finished. The Permian Basin is small in comparison.

November 15, 2018 9:30 pm

As I remember the Laws of Thermodynamics:
The First was entropy, which states: “It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.”
The Second was entropy —“Who says it is going to get any better?”

Rud Istvan
November 15, 2018 10:22 pm

Late but neat estimate, general principles but not specifics recalled from a maybe faulty memory.
The biologic ocean carbon sink is calciforming algae. So long as these die and their detritus rains on depths less than the ~CCD dissolution boundary (roughly 4km depth) then carbonate rock forms.
Unless this rovk is recycled via subduction vulcanism, the atmosphere would be biologically so depleted of CO2 that life would cease in about 3.5 million years.
We much underappreciate plate tectonics, subduction zones, and andesic volcanos.

November 16, 2018 12:33 am

Wait till they discover the amount of atmosphere disappearing into automotive vacuum leaks every year and demand cars be banned because of it.

November 16, 2018 12:43 am

And guess where the ocean salts end up. Some of them end up on the world’s largest salt lake: Salar Unyui, in Bolivia, at an elevation of 3300 meters. This is also where they find the lithium-charged salts. Subducting oceanic slabs, full of seawater feed into the geater Andes mountain volcanoes, and returns the salts and other minerals, including metals to the surface via volcanic processes. See the article in Marine and Petroleum Geology: Hovland et al., 2018: “Large salt accumulations as a consequence of hydrothermal processes associated with
‘Wilson cycles’: A review Part 1: Towards a new understanding” The article is available on

Reply to  Martin Hovland
November 16, 2018 2:58 am

Yes, inland salt lakes are chemically different from near-coastal ones where much or all the salt is ultimately derived from the sea.

But Hovland et al. are overstating their case. Salt lakes/pans will form in any endorheic environment, even in total absence of volcanic, hydrothermal or tectonic activity, e. g. Etosha pan.

November 16, 2018 1:02 am

Humans did it.

November 16, 2018 2:09 am

It is perfectly possible that subduction could be net removing water from the oceans at the present time. Plate tectonic activity varies over geological time and so does sea level. As a matter of fact over geological times sea level has varied rather more than is easily explained.

However it is probably impossible to prove it. It might be possible to roughly calculate the amount of water being subducted, but not the amount being erupted from submarine volcanoes or seeping up in geothermic fields, at least not at present. As a matter of fact it is only quite recently that it has been discovered how extensive such activity is on mid-ocean ridges and most of the ocean floor is still completely unexplored. And who would care to guess how much H2O is coming out of the world’s largest rift valley underneath the West Antarctic Ice?

Just Jenn
November 16, 2018 4:32 am

there is a global center for salamander diversity?

Who knew?

So they estimated the water during normal plate tectonics and said but no water is missing from the oceans. OK……

Yet failed to recognize OTHER ocean floor structures and processes and concluded that the Earth is eating water. Uh huh. Sure.

Seriously a whole global center for salamander diversity? Really? That’s more interesting than 7th grade Earth Science jacked up to MONSTER OF THE WEEK headlines.

Michael Ozanne
November 16, 2018 5:04 am

“The water that goes down must come up”

Must it though? with all the heat, molten minerals, pressure, does none of it gets decomposed to hydrogen and Oxygen and ends up incorporated into other compounds? curiosity makes me ask…..

November 16, 2018 5:05 am

Oh, I finally figured out the purpose of Stephanie’s attempt at purveying information. There’s nothing going on to create panic attacks in the general population, hence the half-baked and not particularly accurate article written as a means of injecting ‘carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas CLIMATE CHANGE’ into the piece. And besides, she gets paid to do that, so CLIMATE CHANGE has to go in there somewhere. Natural processes are somehow threats and she has to relate it all to CLIMATE CHANGE.

Got it. Moving on.

Reply to  Sara
November 16, 2018 6:30 am

No, … then relate it to humans … then move on.

November 16, 2018 5:58 am

1) Take phenomena which has been operative for 4 billion years
2) find your previous estimate of the magnitude was hugely wrong
3) cover that by generating headlines about worse than we thought apocalypse
4) get lots of media


November 16, 2018 7:43 am

‘Gobbling’ is melodramatic.

Subduction rates range from 2 to 8 centimeters per year. Yeah, an inch or two. Water can surely get out of the way. If it wants to.

November 16, 2018 8:12 am

We’ll just have to start detonating enormous fusion bombs in strategic spots under the crust to vaporize that trapped water & blow it out into the atmosphere to replenish the oceans. Or, just direct some water-ice asteroids or comets softly down into the oceans, then aim a giant orbiting mirror melt them. There ya go.

November 16, 2018 9:26 am

The comments above show an almost wilful ignorance of the science of rock morphology. I am not an expert but how some of the above statements about water being scraped of rocks can have a name put to them asks serious questions regarding the authors ability to do the most basic research.. Check out “inclusion” in the rock morphology sense, guys. Also note the hydrogen and oxygen can become other chemicals in the mantle and still re emerge as water through the cycle of tectonic regeneration. It’s 20KBar and over 1500 degrees just under the thin crustal scab we live on, stuck on the visco elastic mass of the Earth’s interior by gravity alone.

MEANWHILE: I have a paper that is w.i.p on SSRN that attempts to quantify total oceanic magma release, which is far more, and far more variable, than modellers assert. Those of you who are numerate and have a basic grasp of the natural world and physics fact might find it of interest, to see if it has merit. The probable realities may also blow your socks off. I started with the suggestion from the University of Oregon that there were 1 Million oceanic volcanoes, but later realised the effect quantified could be achieved with 100,000, if correct. You decide.

If my quantification and explanation of variability has merit it can account for climate variability in the single decimal W/m^2 range and also ocean level rise at the levels we see today, and the interglacial ice age event every 100Ka, simply by the variable amount of MAGMA entering the oceans from volcanoes. Not that CO2 affects much except plant growth. Much more magma than advertised, and much more variable than “atmosphere only” CO2 scapegoating models assume, while turning CO2 up to 11 on the climate model mixer to drown out the rest of the band in return for their grants.

Obs, CO2, water vapour and all the other stuff will be increased by a similar amount as is magma, versus the obvious underestimate of geologists “concensus” (We don’t have a clue so we’ll agree on a number to pretend expertise and all stick to it, keep taking the grants). The “consensus” on magma entering the ocean is 3 or 4 Cubic Kilometres pa, repeated evry TV documentary by celebrity geologists. They must all suffer from a basic lack of logical numeracy as that would leave a VERY large hole in the planet, it isn’t even enough to fill the 75,000 Km of 7Km deep cracks between divergent plates, which I make to be 10 cubic kilometres at 2cm pa. In fact the average is much higher, which means >10K cubic kilometres pa, Obs, Duh. Don’t trust me, “do the arithmatic” (David MacKay).

Technically illiterate volcanologists exist in some cosy world of taxpayer funded trips to interesting places, reporting on things we cannot change, can never test their opinions of in many cases because of the time scales and extreme conditions involved, and avoid any controversy. Certainly not offering any inconvenient challenges to any of the established institutional consensuses from outside regarding their subject. Why spoil an easy number?

E.G. The University that suggest the 3 or 4 cubic kilometres pa of magma entering the oceans is the same one that suggests 1 Million Volcanoes under the ocean, which it appears from the research to date would clearly emit some 5000 times that on their own, w/o the divergent plates gap to fill. Left and right hand, etc. Links and full references are in the paper.

LESSON: You can’t make it up, that’s the job of “experts on everything”………… “with a typewriter and an opinion” (Feynman). Most “science” that is written currently on the subject of planetary systems lacks data, logic, knowledge and mostly offers such vague propositions they cannot be proved right or wrong as “science”. nice work if you can get it.

So these author “experts” mainly qualify as “just another person with an opinion” in provable science fact. Not a basis for action. I am not an expert in geophysics, BTW. Just a physicist and engineer with some data and a grasp of the laws of physics, trying to form hypotheses for others to challenge with their physical reality, versus the new science of presenting a consensus of modellers, perhaps their new collective noun, who programme their models with assumptions that “prove” whatever the idea was they were funded and programmed to prove using “data and a definition of success”. Or what some bloke who doesn’t want to do the physics or the research and arithmatic thinks “makes sense”.

Neither the expert or the delusional prove any laws. Or even cause and effect. Perhaps correlation. Not real science. 21st Century post industrial religion? But check out the magma hypothesis, I think it has legs, just needs track to run on. Send challenges. This is serious science. Probably.

November 16, 2018 11:18 am

I would have thought that most readers – and most certainly David Middleton – were aware that the author of an article and the author of the headline for said article are rarely the same person. Headline editors primary goal is to attract eyeballs, not accurately capture the thrust of the article.

Steve in Indiana
November 16, 2018 12:25 pm

If this keeps up our children won’t know what oceans are. /sarc.

old construction worker
November 16, 2018 5:07 pm

‘That’s why.’ That made me chuckle. I almost spit my coffee. And yes i’m drinking cofofee @ 8PMU.S. eastern time.

Tasfay Martinov
November 16, 2018 9:19 pm

The role that subducted water plays in plate tectonics isn’t really a “new thing.”

No – and the logical fallacy of “nothing happened until we discovered it” is not new either but seems to be becoming more prevalent with increasing politicisation / dumbing down of science.

Brett Keane
November 17, 2018 3:42 pm

Robert of Texas says: November 15, 2018 at 5:01 pm: Robert, yes, I happen to live on the mafic zone of a Kear-Marshall zone; Kaipara and the rest of Northland NZ. Some 40mi East is the felsic zone. The subduction starts East of that as the West Pacific Oceanic Plate dives under/pushes up the NZ Continental Plate. Shallow zones melt felsic (sandy) eruptive material which has erupted on the surface, often still underwater then. This is lower-melting point rock hence the shallow depth. The subduction being deeper 40mi West, tougher Mafic (metallic) rock is melted too and can rise to form Stratovolanoes. This Peninsula’s c.300mi is perhaps the densest known volcanic zone on Earth…. We have very good Geological studies of it all, recently published in a fascinating Textbook (Out of the Ocean into the Fire. Ed. Bruce W. Hayward). Luckily the active volcanics are now further south and north.

Brett Keaae
November 17, 2018 3:52 pm

PS: The ocean floor ir renewed/destroyed about every 200 million years, So, about 20-25 times. Swallow that and digest it! 🙂

Reply to  Brett Keaae
November 17, 2018 8:01 pm

Some places are cut off from these cycles of creation and destruction.
Gulf of Mexico?

Johann Wundersamer
November 25, 2018 2:09 pm

And it’s three times as bad as “previously thought” (is it ever three times better than previous thought?).

This costs an extra charge!

Johann Wundersamer
November 25, 2018 2:35 pm

Why should water with specific gravity 1 slip past heavier mantle components past the center of the earth. This article is a hardener for the carnival season.

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