Several studies had previously suggested that meteorites and comets were responsible for bringing water to the earth. Contradicting this hypothesis, a new study paper has suggested that oceans on earth may have formed directly from the "star stuff" that coalesced into the early solar system.
The abundance of Hydrogen
Scientists believe that meteorites might have formed in the hot inner solar system, and these ancient space rocks are more abundant in hydrogen than previously thought. According to the research team, if the earth was also formed of similar materials, then there could be more than enough hydrogen to combine with oxygen to form the world's all water resources.
"The Earth might have been wet from the beginning when it started to form," said Laurette Piani, a cosmochemist at the Petrographic and Geochemical Research Center in France, and the lead author of the study.
During the study, Piani and the team analyzed the composition of enstatite chondrite meteorites, that might have formed in the hot inner parts of the solar system more than 4.5 billion years ago. Researchers believe that these meteorites were formed alongside the earth and the other planets in the solar system.
Study Based on Enstatite Chondrite Meteorites
Until now, only 200 enstatite chondrite meteorites have been found. However, these space rocks match specific aspects of the chemical composition of the earth. This fact suggests that these meteorites are similar to the building blocks that resulted in the formation of earth from an interstellar nebula.
"Our discovery shows that the Earth's building blocks might have significantly contributed to the Earth's water. Hydrogen-bearing material was present in the inner solar system at the time of the rocky planet formation, even though the temperatures were too high for water to condense," added Piani, in a statement.
However, the research team admitted that meteorite bombardment from the outer solar system might have happened later, but it would have made only a meager addition to the water on earth's surface.