Scientists have a new theory about origin of water on Earth
Researchers have developed a new theory for the origin of Earth's water.
According to Science Daily, a team of Arizona State University geoscientists say Earth's water may have come from both asteroid material and gas left over from the formation of the Sun.
Where water came from and how it got to Earth are questions that scientists have struggled with finding a concrete answer to in the past.
One of the study co-authors said, "It's a bit of a blind spot in the community."
According to the American Geophysical Union, the new study challenges previous theories about hydrogen in Earth's water. The study notes that several scientists have historically supported a theory that Earth's water originated from asteroids, due to similarity of ocean water and water found in asteroids.
However, the ASU researchers argue the element partially came from clouds of dust and gas remaining after the Sun's formation, i.e. from the 'Solar Nebula', through a process called "isotopic fractionation." This would have seen hydrogen pulled towards the Earth's centre billions of years ago, which eventually led to water being added to a young Earth. The hydrogen and noble gases would've been drawn in by the large magma covered embryo to form an early atmosphere.
The theory also allows for the possibility that Nebula hydrogen, which contains less deuterium, and is lighter than Asteroidal hydrogen, dissolved into the molten iron of the magma ocean and remained there while hydrogen, which is attracted iron, was delivered to the core by the metal. Estimates based on that model show that some of Earth's water did come from the Solar Nebula .
The new research was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.