October 16, 2021

Earth’s abundant water has existed since the beginning

It is a Sahara 97096 meteorite, about 10 cm in size, in the French National Museum of Natural History. About 0.5% of this meteorite, an enstatite chondrite species, was found to be water. The white dots embedded in the meteorite contain hydrogen. Provided by Lorette Piani

It is a Sahara 97096 meteorite, about 10 cm in size, in the French National Museum of Natural History. About 0.5% of this meteorite, an enstatite chondrite species, was found to be water. The white dots embedded in the meteorite contain hydrogen. Provided by Lorette Piani

The research results support the theory that the earth’s water, which was the origin of rich life, did not flow from far away from the solar system through an abundant comet, but already existed from the beginning.


Lorette Piani, a team of researchers at the CNRS Center for Rock and Geochemistry Research (CRPG), analyzed a chondrite meteorite with an Earth-like composition made near the solar system, and found that it was rich in hydrogen necessary for water to form. The research results were published on the 28th of this month in the international academic journal’Science’.

Chondrite meteorites are meteorites created with the early solar system. Since it is not exposed to heat, it retains the secrets of the early solar system. Among them, enstatite (mitigated pyrite) chondrite, made close to the sun, is known to have substantially the same composition as the earth. However, only about 2% of meteorites that have fallen to Earth are enstatate chondrites.

Scientists have believed that enstatite chondrites will be dry with little moisture. This is because the ice was made near the sun, which was too hot to remain. As the Earth was close to the Sun, it was believed that it would have a similar composition, and the theory that the earth’s abundant water flowed from the outside has gained strength. Like carbonaceous chondrites, a relatively moist material created in the solar system outside of Hyptune later reached Earth and supplied the hydrogen needed to make water.

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HoweVer, the fact that Nstatite chondrites are dry turned out to be a bias for scientists. The research team collected 13 species of Enstatite chondrites and analyzed the content of hydrogen, a component of water. As a result, it was found that hydrogen was unexpectedly abundant in Nstatite chondrites. If the Earth’s constituents are like this, then enough hydrogen has already existed since the early Earth’s formation to provide three times the water present in the Earth’s oceans.


In fact, analysis of the ratio of hydrogen and deuterium in Enstatite chondrites and the composition of nitrogen isotopes showed that they almost matched the Earth’s mantle composition. Based on this, the research team analyzed that 95% of the earth’s water already had raw materials when the earth was formed, and that only 5% of the water-rich comets or meteorites fell and flowed in.


Researcher Piani said, “Enstatite chondrite has not been thoroughly analyzed for hydrogen because it is considered dry. If Nstatite chondrite is a component of the earth, it is sufficient to make the earth rich in water. It means hydrogen was already on Earth.”