Earth is the only known planet with liquid water on its surface; one of the first reasons it can sustain life.
However, one question puzzled scientists for a while now – Did our planet always present water, or did it arrive ulteriorly?
In the journal Science, scientists from the Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques from Nancy (University of Lorraine) wrote that most of the water currently on our planet most likely sit there from the beginning.
However, Earth formed in an area of the Solar System where temperatures weren’t low enough for water to condense and clump with other solids like ice, furthermore contributing to the hypothesis that water wasn’t there from the beginning.
Unfortunately, the quantity of water present in the rocks that helped form Earth was never approximated accurately.
The scientists analyzed meteorites with compositions similar to Earth’s, known as enstatite chondrites, particularly a small amount of these that underwent little heating over during their existence. They measured their hydrogen content and determined accurately where a part of it was located.
The results revealed that Earth’s primitive rocks likely contained enough water to generate over three times the quantity of water in our planet’s oceans!
Additionally, the hydrogen from those meteorites has a similar isotopic composition as that of the water stored in our planet’s mantle!
The oceans’ isotopic composition is constant, with a mixture of about 95% of the water from the enstatite chondrites and only 5% from comets or water-rich asteroids.
Therefore, our planet seems to have gained most of its water from its materials.
It’s impressive to learn that water might be lurking anywhere on other planets, just not in liquid form!
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.