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Scientists have made a new finding about availability of water on the Earth. According to a new study, water accumulated on the planet almost soon after the formation of the solar system, i.e. much earlier than actually thought by the scientists.
In was previously believed that the volatile formation of the Earth and the other inner planets most likely evaporated any resident water, leaving the molten planet almost dry.
Adam Sarafian, lead study author and a geophysicist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), said, “All the planets could have gotten their water very early, which means the planets could have been habitable immediately after they formed.”
The scientists made the latest revelation about the largely debated issue of water on the Earth following a detailed analysis of meteorite samples.
A comparative study was conducted between the ancient water (having hydrogen isotopes) that are found on the mini-planet Vesta’s meteorites and the water that are found on carbonaceous chondrite meteorites.
While Vesta that is found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter shares about the same age as that of Earth, carbonaceous chondrites are the oldest meteorites of the solar system that have formed around the same time when the sun was born.
Their hydrogen isotopes showed that the water has been readily available since the beginning of the formation of the solar system.
“These primitive meteorites resemble the bulk solar system composition. They have quite a lot of water in them, and have been thought of before as candidates for the origin of Earth’s water,” said study co-author and WHOI researcher Sune Nielsen.
Study co-author Horst Marschall, who is a geologist at WHOI, said that their research work showed that the water on our planet most likely accreted almost at the same time as the rock.
“The planet formed as a wet planet with water on the surface,” Marschall added.
The new study was detailed this week in Science Magazine.