Jun 10, 2019 09:38 AM EDT
About 4.4 million years ago, the Earth collided with Theia, a planet that is a size of Mars. The large about of energy that collided formed debris coalesced to make a huge formation now known as the moon. Some of these materials were said to have fallen to the Earth and became part of the mantle that serves as the rocky formation on top of the Earth's core. This discovery was led by Dr. Gerrit Budde from the Institute of Planetology. They looked into the metal molybdenum that's found in the outer layer of the mantle.
The atoms of an element can have a different number of neutron content but still come with the same chemical properties. Sometimes, it can become heavier or lighter because of the neutron content. These are referred to by the scientists as isotopes. This fact paved the way for the discovery because the molybdenum isotopes displayed differently in carbon-containing materials that were originally from outer space compared to the non-carbon-containing materials from within the solar system. Before the Earth's collision with Theia, its mantle is only composed of non-carbon-containing materials.
"The molybdenum material has allowed us to make a distinction between carbonaceous material and non-carbonaceous matter. It is as if it provides us with a genetic "fingerprint" of what materials came from within the solar system and what materials came outside of it," Budde said.
The amount of material that was brought about by the collision does not only account for the molybdenum found on earth. They say it also accounts for all the water in it too, they say. Since the molybdenum isotopes found in the mantle is made of both carbonaceous and non-carbonaceous material, it is fairly easy to determine that most of its material came from the outer part of the Solar System. When further deduced, the collision between Theia and the planet Earth may not only have formed the moon, but it could be accountable for all the living water in it too.
"This approach is quite unique as it tends to explain the origins of the water on Earth and how it is associated with the formation of the moon. Simply put, we can say that if there was no moon, life on Earth wouldn't be possible at all," Prof. Thorsten Kleine said.
Although further research may still be needed before the results may be considered factual, what remains to be true now is that the moon plays a huge role in not just the waves on Earth, but in the survival of all the life in it. Without the moon, life on the planet may not be possible anymore.
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