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Space & Astronomy

Where did the Earth get all of its water from ?

August 28, 2020 | Comment icon 6 comments



Was the Earth's water here all along ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 NikoLang
A new study has cast doubt on the prevailing theory of how our planet came to possess so much water.
For years, it was generally believed that most of the Earth's water was not present when our planet originally formed but instead arrived later via water-rich comets and meteorites.

This is because, due to the Earth's proximity to the Sun, it was thought that the temperature would have been too high for ice to have combined with rock and dust during the Earth's formation.

Now however, a new study by CRPG researcher Laurette Piani and colleagues has cast doubt on this idea by measuring the hydrogen content of certain types of meteorites.

The meteorites in question - known as enstatite chondrites - were chosen because their chemical make-up is much the same as the material that came together to form the Earth 4.5 billion years ago.

Surprisingly, they were found to contain quite a significant amount of hydrogen - enough to ensure that the newly formed Earth had more than enough water to cover the planet's surface.

"I was happy because it makes it nice and simple," said NASA planetary scientist Anne Peslier.

"We don't have to invoke complicated models where we have to bring material, water-rich material from the outer part of the solar system."

"So here, we just don't need Jupiter. We don't need to do anything weird. We just grab the material that was there where the Earth formed, and that's where the water comes from."

Source: NPR.org | Comments (6)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by acute 2 years ago
Rain, of course! Duh.....
Comment icon #2 Posted by Rolci 2 years ago
Phew... that explains all the seas on the Moon, the thick oxygen atmosphere of Venus and all those oceans of ice on Mars and most major moons in the solar system. Great theory!
Comment icon #3 Posted by pallidin 2 years ago
Yeah, it seems to me oddly exceptional that Earth ended-up as it did... or maybe I just don't know enough about our solar system's early years.
Comment icon #4 Posted by docyabut2 2 years ago
thought earth was once a snowball https://newatlas.com/snowball-earth-sturtian-glaciation/48389/  
Comment icon #5 Posted by 27vet 2 years ago
Well apparently from bombardment by comets (Earth: Making of a Planet) look it up. It' possibly true, and did they also hit Mars and Venus? And because of the position of Venus and Mars in the Goldilocks zone, their water disappeared? We will never know for sure of course.
Comment icon #6 Posted by third_eye 2 years ago
Earth used to be the toilet break stop for intergalactic tour routes in our neck of the Solar system ~


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