The origin of water on Earth



Water is essential to life on Earth, occupies 70% of its surface, but we do not know one thing: where does the water come from? Apparently, the origin of the 1.450 billion tons of water in the world's oceans is still a mystery. In general school and gymnasium we all learned about the cycle of water in nature: evaporation, condensation, rain and everything made sense. But no one told us anything about how water came to Earth.

About 4.5 billion years ago, the Solar System, including the Earth, was formed. All planets have gone through the same training process, which raises the question: why is our planet so rich in water? The answer is not yet clear, but in the scientific world there are two camps on the origin of the water.

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Endogenous theory

This theory holds that all the water on Earth has been formed here and has existed since its formation. An endogenous possibility is that the water molecules formed by hydrogen and oxygen molecules were combined into the early Earth and came to the surface in the form of the volcanic eruption. But this theory is attacked by the other camp, arguing that at that time the temperatures were too high and the water would have evaporated in space, so the water on Earth can not come only from the primordial processes.

The exogenous theory

The scientists in this camp came up with the alternative idea that water molecules could have reached Terra with comets and asteroids. It is known that 3.85 billion years ago, the planets were hit by space objects, an event called the "Great Bombardment," also responsible for the "disfigurement" of the Moon. A team of researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark discovered in 2009 that much of the space objects that bombed the Earth were comets. Comets are mostly made of ice, which could explain where a great deal of water comes from on Earth.

Until recently, astronomers and some scientists were skeptical of comet theory, because it could explain that about 0.3 percent of ocean waters contain deuterium, an unusual hydrogen form. Their skepticism was improved in 2011 when astronomers found deuterium water on Comet Hartley 2.

The next time you drink a glass of water, think about the possibility that water and life itself might be immigrants to Earth.

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