Where did the water on Earth come from?

As a result of the experiment, geophysicists were convinced that water on Earth arose as a result of chemical reactions in its bowels, and was not brought to the planet from space by ice-rich asteroids or meteorites, as is commonly believed. To do this, the researchers simulated on a computer the conditions that are characteristic of the bowels of the earth: a temperature of about 1400 ° C and a pressure of 20 thousand times higher than atmospheric.

Under such conditions, silicon dioxide contained in the mantle undergoes a chemical reaction with hydrogen, which leads to the formation of liquid water and silicon hydride. A computer model shows that such reactions can occur at a depth of 40 to 400 kilometers from the surface of the Earth. As a result, this can provoke the accumulation of water within the mineral rocks and an increase in pressure up to 200 thousand atmospheres.

Such a sharp increase in pressure when a significant amount of liquid water leaves the rock can lead to powerful earthquakes. However, now the team of scientists hopes to find out whether the formation of water is typical of the Earth’s mantle as a whole or is it rather local in nature and most of the liquid water still came to the planet from space - thanks to comets, meteorites and asteroids.


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