Earth’s Water May Not Have Originated With Comet Collisions After All

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In the past it was commonly believed by scientists that the water on earth came after comet collisions deposited ice. But, according to new study conducted by the scientist at University College Dublin, reveals that the liquid that is the key for life just may have originated on our Planet after all. The research found that chemical reactions between fluid hydrogen and silicon dioxide deep down in Earth’s mantle could create water.

The scientist found that, at very high pressures and temperatures, fluid hydrogen and silicon dioxide in quartz can react to form liquid water.  They used high tech computer simulations, checking at various temperatures and pressures similar to those found in the upper mantle 25 to nearly 250 miles below our Planet’s surface. When fluid hydrogen and silicon dioxide are exposed to a pressure 20,000 times higher than the atmospheric pressure on Earth, and a temperature of around 2,552 degrees Fahrenheit, these two substances can produce water.

They thought that water resulting from the chemical reaction would form on the quartz’s surface. But the water was instead trapped inside the quartz, building up pressure. The scientists think when this pressure is released; it could result in earthquakes under the Earth’s surface.

Credit: James St. John

This study was published in The Journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters in January 2017. With the two scientists from University College Dublin and three other researchers from Canada’s University of Saskatchewan and China’s Jilin University all collaborated on this research. Their findings provide further credence to Japanese 2014 experiments on fluid hydrogen and silicon dioxide.

The papers co-author Niall English from University College Dublin said:

We were initially surprised to see in-rock reactions, but we then realized that we had explained the puzzling mechanism at the base of earlier Japanese experimental work finding water formation. We concluded that these findings help to rationalize, in vivid detail, the in-mantle genesis of water. This is very exciting and in accord with very recent findings of an ‘ocean’s worth’ of water in the Earth’s mantle.”

The scientists believe that by using fluid hydrogen and silicon dioxide, in the future it might be possible to create water on other planets that do not have the water which is vital for life.


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Author: Mr.Bee

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