Olivine (A) hosts melt inclusions (B) containing tiny amounts of water from Earth's deep mantle. (Credit: University of Hawaii)
Scientists at the University of Hawaii have answered a key question about Earth’s past. According to a release from the school, researchers there have confirmed that water was present on planet Earth from the very beginning, not deposited here by asteroids as some had hypothesized.
The researchers made the determination by analyzing rocks from Baffin Island in Canada with ion-microprobe instruments. These helped them to zero in on super-tiny pockets of glass inside the rocks and find small amounts of water within. From there, they used the ratio of hydrogen to deuterium to figure out where the water came from.
Since the water particles they analyzed from the rocks had very little deuterium, researchers confirmed that the water was most likely not carried to Earth from some outer-space rock, but rather probably came from space dust floating around the Sun that helped to form Earth.
The Baffin Island rocks are some of the most primitive that scientists have ever found, with those at the university noting that the rocks even contain tiny bits of the Earth’s deep mantle.
Top image: Olivine (A) hosts melt inclusions (B) containing tiny amounts of water from Earth’s deep mantle. (Credit: University of Hawaii)