Discovered the origin of water on Earth
(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at Imperial College London (UK) have revealed that more than half of the earth’s zinc reserves come from the outer part of the solar system, beyond the asteroid belt.
The meteorites responsible for this also made a significant contribution to the stocks of other volatile compounds, including water.
Previously, researchers assumed that on Earth, most of the volatile substances that turn into a gaseous state at relatively low temperatures came from asteroids that formed closer to the Sun.
In the new work, planetary scientists studied 18 meteorites, including 11 from the inner solar system and seven carbonaceous meteorites from the outer.
The relative abundances of five zinc isotopes were measured to identify nucleosynthetic anomalies small differences in isotope ratios caused by incomplete mixing of material early in the solar system’s formation.
The scientists then used mass balance models that take into account the inflow of material with different isotopic compositions into and out of the physical system.
The researchers found that carbon-bearing bodies, which likely formed outside the orbit of Jupiter, delivered about half of the Earth’s zinc supply and are responsible for 10 percent of the Earth’s total mass.
90 percent of the Earth’s mass is in the non-carbonaceous material of the inner solar system.
Material with high concentrations of zinc and other volatiles is also likely to contain relatively high levels of H2O, indicating a likely source of water on Earth.
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