Jul 20, 2019 | Updated: 08:54 AM EDT

Was Earth all land before? Scientists unravel the mystery.

Oct 31, 2014 09:52 PM EDT

Planet Earth covered with water
(Photo : Wikipedia)
Beautiful body of water
(Photo : Wikipedia)

The earth we live in, with the similar events going on every day, has been all too familiar to us we forget it is a planet millions --maybe billions of years- -ahead of us. Such age hides with it many secrets and mysteries that are left to be unraveled and be objects of unfathomable awe and fascination to the curious mind.

The few who tried to piece the puzzle that is earth theorized that the planet was mainly land before it underwent a later process that formed its present oceans and other bodies of water. Previous thought led to the hypothesis that earth's late water arrival came from high-energy impact with comets or asteroids that were rich in ice.

A recent scientific study from Massachusetts' Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on the planet's water origin found that the oceans have always been present and weren't formed in a late process as previously imagined.

Study co-author and geologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hold, Massachusetts said that many scientists argued that any water present on Earth at its molten beginning "would have evaporated or been blown off into space." The popular theory about the origin of earth's ocean is that it arrived later by way of collisions with water-laden comets and asteroids, explained in a statement.

The recent study also found evidence that runs counter to the idea that Earth's surface water came hundreds of millions of years later.

The researchers looked at the most ancient known meteorites, called carbonaceous chondrites. These space bodies were formed in the same environment in which the sun was born, about 4.6 billion years ago.

The researchers compared carbonaceous chondrites to meteorites, said to have originated from the large asteroid Vesta, which formed some 14 million years after the birth of the solar system.

Co-author Sune Nielsen, also at Woods Hole, said, "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."

Measurements show that meteorites from Vesta have the same chemical makeup as the carbonaceous chondrites and rocks found here on Earth. According to the scientists, the findings demonstrate that carbonaceous chondrites are likely responsible for most of the planet's water.

"The study shows that Earth's water most likely accreted at the same time as the rock," Marschall said. "The planet formed as a wet planet with water on the surface."

 "Knowing that water came early to the inner solar system also means that the other inner planets could have been wet early and evolved life before they became the harsh environments they are today," said Nielsen.

The study gives a new perspective, a reorientation on the first signs of water on Earth as well as first appearance of life.

The study is published in the October 31 issue of the journal Science.

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