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11454Huge stores of oxygen found deep inside Earth

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  • derhexer@aol.com
    Oct 1, 2007
      URL to an interesting article in MSNBC

      One possible explanation as to why aliens haven't come calling - majorite
      may not be common on other worlds

      First few paragraphs
      A mineral that acts like a sponge beneath Earth's surface stores more oxygen
      than expected, keeping our planet from becoming dry and inhospitable like
      _Mars_ (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21082196/#) .
      The key to the abundant _oxygen_
      (http://www.livescience.com/environment/070927_earth_oxygen.html) storage is the mineral majorite, which exists deep
      below Earth's surface in the mantle. Without the oxygen stockpile, Earth would
      probably be a barren planet hostile to life, authors of a study suggest in the
      Sept. 27 issue of the journal Nature.
      The researchers examined majorite in the lab under conditions mimicking the
      Earth's deep interior and also near the planet's surface. The results showed
      that under deep-Earth conditions of high temperature and pressure, majorite
      stores large amounts of oxygen. When the temperature and pressure were
      decreased, as occurs near Earth's surface, the majorite decomposed and released the
      _oxygen_ (http://www.livescience.com/animals/070813_big_bugs.html) .

      "The Earth's upper mantle can store, therefore, much more oxygen than
      previously expected," said lead author Arno Rohrbach, a doctoral student at the
      University of Bonn's Mineralogical Institute in Germany.
      In nature, the deep stores of oxygen (in the form of majorite) ride
      convection currents up toward Earth's surface. Along the way, the pressure and
      temperature decrease, and at some point majorite breaks down.

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