Global-scale water circulation in the Earth's mantle: Implications for the mantle water budget in the early Earth Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/4564-2322-3782-6410-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2017


  • We investigate the influence of the mantle water content in the early Earth on that in the present mantle using numerical convection simulations that include three processes for redistribution of water: dehydration, partitioning of water into partially molten mantle, and regassing assuming an infinite water reservoir at the surface. These models suggest that the water content of the present mantle is insensitive to that of the early Earth. The initial water stored during planetary formation is regulated up to 1.2 OMs (OM = Ocean Mass; 1.4 x 10^21 kg), which is reasonable for early Earth. However, the mantle water content is sensitive to the rheological dependence on the water content and can range from 1.2 to 3 OMs at the present day. To explain the evolution of mantle water content, we computed water fluxes due to subducting plates (regassing), degassing and dehydration. For weakly water dependent viscosity, the net water flux is almost balanced with those three fluxes but, for strongly water dependent viscosity, the regassing dominates the water cycle system because the surface plate activity is more vigorous. The increased convection is due to enhanced lubrication of the plates caused by a weak hydrous crust for strongly water dependent viscosity. The degassing history is insensitive to the initial water content of the early Earth as well as rheological strength. The degassing flux from Earth's surface is calculated to be approximately O(10^13)kg/yr, consistent with a coupled model of climate evolution and mantle thermal evolution.


  • 464