'Our oceans, atmosphere came from outer space'

Earlier, scientists believed that the gases and minerals were locked deep within the Earth’s crust and only released in huge volcanic eruptions. But now, the researchers from the University of Manchester have proved that they must have come from outer space billions of years after the planet was formed.

“We found a clear meteorite signature in volcanic gases. From that we now know the volcanic gases could not have contributed in any significant way to the Earth’s atmosphere,” lead author Dr Greg Holland wrote in journal ‘Science’.

He said, “The atmosphere and oceans must have come from somewhere else – possibly from a late bombardment of gas and water rich materials similar to comets.”
Dr Holland and his colleagues tested volcanic gases to uncover the new evidence and found that they had chemical fingerprints matching that of meteorites rather than the inner earth, the ‘Telegraph’ reported. The techniques enabled the researchers tiny quantities of volcanic gases Krypton and Xenon which revealed a chemical fingerprint matching that of meteorites.

Soon after it formed, the Earth’s core was enveloped by an ocean of magma.
Intense bombardment by meteorites combined with the core’s heat turned rocks into gases.

Within a few million years, a thick, dense atmosphere formed, even though a large portion of it was probably expelled by the gigantic impact that created the moon 4.4 billion years ago.

Professor Chris Ballentine of the University of Manchester, the Project Director, said “Many people have seen artist’s impressions of the primordial earth with huge volcanoes in the background spewing gas to form the atmosphere.
“We will now have to redraw this picture,” they said.

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