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

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Researchers still do not know where and how such a huge amount of water on Earth originated. According to a new study, the water that entered the planet existed in the solar system before the formation of the Earth.

A team of geochemists from the National Museum of Natural History of France established that the water isotopes in the meteorite, which is 4.57 billion years oldcoincide with the isotopes of water on the 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,
– write the authors of the study.

What are meteorites for?

The fact is that some meteorites are full-fledged time capsules, which helps researchers study how various processes in the universe took place. Meteorites often contain particles of gas and dust from the time of star formation.

In the process of 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 origin cannot be traced. However, it is occasionally possible to find samples amenable to analysis.

Yes, in a meteorite Efremivkafound in Kazakhstan 1962found elements that approx 4.57 billion years. It was analyzed by French geochemists using specially developed technology.

How the measurements took place

  • They used to measure the composition of water in the meteorite focused ion beamwho identified and analyzed all the minerals in the sample.
  • The scientists then compared the results with eight terrestrial samples of water-containing materials.
  • Eventually, the researchers checked the ratio of hydrogen isotopes in the meteorite.

The results showed that in the first 200,000 years of the history of the solar system, before the formation planetesimalsthere were two large gas reservoirs.

What is a planetesimal?

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

One of them contained the gas from which the entire substance of the system was finally formed. Another was rich in water, which most likely originated from a massive influx of interstellar material. It entered the interior of the solar system at the time of the collapse of the protostellar envelope.

Amazingly, this water is very similar to modern terrestrial water in its isotopic composition. From this we can assume 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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