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No. 48: Nov-Dec 1986

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Water, water: how far down?

The upper 10-15 kilometers of the earth's continental crust is different in several ways from the lower crust. The top layer is electrically resistive, seismically transparent, the source of almost all earthquakes, and responds to stress elastically. In contrast, the lower crust is electrically conductive, contains many reflectors of seismic energy, provides few quakes, and responds like a ductile material to stress.

The diverse characteristics of both regions can be explained if the entire crust contains saline water. In the up-per crust the water is thought to be in separated cavities, while deep down it forms an interconnected film on crystal surfaces.

(Gough, D. Ian; "Seismic Reflectors, Conductivity, Water and Stress in the Continental Crust," Nature, 323:143, 1986.)

In an accompanying commentary, B.W.D. Yardley notes that the Soviet deep borehole on the Kola peninsula has found water down to at least 12 kilome ters.

(Yardley, Bruce W.D.; "Is There Water in the Deep Continental Crust?" Nature, 323:111, 1986.)

From Science Frontiers #48, NOV-DEC 1986. 1986-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987