How water appeared on Earth scientists have found a new impressive answer

(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers still do not know where and how such a huge amount of water on Earth appeared. The water that hit the planet existed in the solar system before the formation of the Earth, according to a new study.

A team of geochemists from the National Museum of Natural History of France found that the isotopes of water in a 4.57 billion-year -old meteorite match those of water on modern Earth.

The initial isotopic composition of water in the solar system is a question of great importance for understanding the origin of water on the planets, but remains unanswered despite numerous studies, the
authors of the study write.

What are meteorites

The fact is that some meteorites are full-fledged time capsules, which helps researchers to study how various processes proceeded in the Universe. Often, meteorites contain particles of gases and dust from the time of the birth of stars.

During the formation of such meteorites from the remnants of dust and gas that went into the creation of the Sun, their composition was subjected to such pressure and temperatures that traces of their origin cannot be traced. However, occasionally it is possible to find samples that can be analyzed.

So, in the Efremovka meteorite , found in Kazakhstan in 1962 , they found elements that are approximately 4.57 billion years old . It was analyzed by French geochemists using a technology specially developed for this.

How the measurements took place

  • To measure the composition of the water in the meteorite, they used a focused ion beam , which identified and analyzed all the minerals in the sample.
  • The scientists then compared the results with eight earth-based samples of materials that contain water.
  • As a result, the researchers checked the ratio of hydrogen isotopes in the meteorite.

The results showed that in the first 200,000 years of the Solar System’s history, before the formation of planetesimals , there were two large reservoirs of gas.

What is a planetesimal?

A space object in orbit around a star, formed as a result of the gradual settling of smaller objects and particles of a protoplanetary disk on it.

One of them contained a gas, from which, finally, all the matter of the system was formed. The other was rich in water, which most likely originated from a massive influx of interstellar material. He penetrated into the solar system at the time of the collapse of the protostellar shell.

Strikingly, this water is very similar to modern terrestrial water in its isotopic composition. From this it can be assumed that water was present in the early solar system from the very beginning – even before the Earth formed into a protoplanet.


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