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New evidence on the origin of Earth’s water

quarta-feira, setembro 9, 2020

Earth's abundance of water makes it unique in the solar system, but its origin has been debated for a long time. A study recently published in the journal Science offers evidence regarding how water originated on Earth, and the clues come from some of the oldest rocks in the solar system.

Using a large geometry Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (SIMS) from CAMECA, scientists from Centre de Recherches Petrographiques et Geochimiques (CRPG, CNRS/Universite de Lorraine, France) obtained precise measurements of the amount of hydrogen, the primary element in water, in 13 samples of enstatite chondrite meteorites. Their analysis revealed these meteorites carry a lot more hydrogen than previously believed. So much hydrogen, that they believe the ancient meteorites can account for at least three times the amount of water in Earth's present-day oceans.

“Our discovery shows that the Earth’s building blocks might have significantly contributed to the Earth’s water,” said Dr Laurette Piano, our SIMS user and researcher at Université de Lorraine.
The research doesn't exclude later addition of water by other sources like comets, but it indicates that enstatite chondrites contributed significantly to Earth's water budget at the time it formed.

Read the full article
Earth’s water may have been inherited from material similar to enstatite chondrite meteorites.
Laurette Piani et al. Science 28 Aug 2020. Vol. 369, Issue 6507, pp. 1110-1113