The mechanisms of exchange of hydrogen between the deep interior and surface of Earth, as well as the means of retention and possible abundance of hydrogen deep within the Earth, are examined. The uppermost several hundred kilometers of Earth's suboceanic upper mantle appear to be largely degassed, but significant primordial hydrogen could be retained within the transition zone, lower mantle, or core. Regassing of the planet occurs via subduction: Cold slabs are likely particularly efficient at transporting hydrogen to depth within the planet. Marked changes in hydrogen cycling have taken place throughout Earth's history: Evidence of hydrated ultramafic melts in the Archean and probable hydrogen retention within a Hadean magma ocean indicate that early in its history, the deep Earth was substantially wetter. The largest enigma associated with hydrogen in the deep Earth lies in the core: This region could represent the dominant reservoir of hydrogen on the planet, with up to ∼100 hydrospheres of hydrogen present as a high-pressure iron-alloy.

Keyword(s): corehydrous phasesmantlevolatileswater

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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