Water on Earth could have come from an ancient mineral

(ORDO NEWS) — In the days of the early Earth, when there was high pressure in the mantle of our planet, the mineral hydrous magnesium silicate could exist there.

According to the publication Physical Review Letters, scientists have suggested that as the pressure in the mantle fell and the earth’s core separated, this mineral decomposed, resulting in a large amount of water.

Scientists have long puzzled over the mystery of the origin of water on our planet. There are several hypotheses about this – for example, someone believes that water was brought to Earth along with asteroids and comets, and someone is sure that the whole thing is the decomposition of water-containing minerals in the mantle.

Chinese researchers led by Xiao Dong of Nankai University, as well as their Russian colleagues, have run simulations that show that a compound Mg2SiO5H2 could have existed under early Earth conditions, which was stable under extreme pressure and temperature conditions. Magnesium hydrosilicate, according to scientists, could contain about 11 weight percent H2O.

As Artem Oganov from Skoltech pointed out, there was no water on the early Earth (at least not in the hundreds of upper kilometers). When the core formed 30 million years after the formation of the planet, silicate minerals found themselves in a zone of lower pressure, where hydrous magnesium silicate decomposed into water and other substances.

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