About 71% of our planet is covered in water, which makes us wonder how all this volume came to be. The answer, according to an international study written by several institutions, is simple: all this water was already here even before the Earth existed.
According to the material, about 200,000 years after the birth of our solar system – that is, well before the beginning of planetary formations – there were already water vapor reservoirs in space and, according to published analysis, this reservoir would have the same isotopic signature found in Earth's water.
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The study was carried out by researchers from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Paris-Saclay University, University of Pau, France (UPPA), and was also supported by the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN).
The process, in a nutshell, involved tracking the isotopic composition of water all the way back to the early solar system, along the inner regions where Earth and other planets eventually formed. And this was possible through the analysis of one of the oldest meteorites in our system, using a new method, developed specifically for this study.
The result was the identification of two reservoirs containing matter that gave rise to our entire system. In one of them, there was a lot of solar gas. In the other, there was material enriched with water vapor. This reservoir was formed through the influx of interstellar water in the innermost regions of the solar system, where everything is absurdly hotter.
This liquid came “covered” by a type of protection that eventually ended up giving way and exposing this water to the changes that made it acquire the isotopic signature we know today. In other words: “Earth water” already existed before “Earth” existed.
The details of the study were published by the scientific journal Nature.
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