At the University of Chicago, the scientists first created a unique simulation of the behavior of salt water in the mantle of the Earth. The researchers have always believed that the mantle of our planet contains as much water as it is in all the oceans on the planet. They could never determine - how that hidden water in the bowels of the Earth behaves.
It can exist under the high pressure and at elevated temperatures, in extreme conditions, that are not easy to create in the laboratory. But it was necessary to understand the chemical, physical properties that relate to knowledge about magma, the carbon cycle of the planet, climate change.
Professor Julia Gully said that with the support of colleagues from the University of California, a sophisticated computer simulation was developed. The purpose of that event was to better understand the properties of salt in water in mantle conditions.
Three research groups created their own modeling methods, and then combined them into one. Using complex codes, the scientists were able to create one simulation of salt water based on quantum-mechanical calculations. With its help, the researchers were able to find key molecular changes relative to environmental conditions.
It may not be of much interest to traditional chemistry, but it gives details about chemistry deep underground. The study thus conducted was the first to study the free energy of salts in water under pressure. It lays the foundation in understanding the effect of salt on the Earth’s mantle.
It turned out that the dissociation of water, that occurs due to the high pressure and temperature, affects how the salt interacts with water and, in turn, how it should interact with rocky surfaces that are on the soil itself. And this process is fundamental to understand chemical reactions in the mantle of the Earth.