Biogeochemical Cycles & Geobiology

We Drink Good 4.5-Billion-Year-Old Water On Earth

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
December 14, 2022
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We Drink Good 4.5-Billion-Year-Old Water On Earth

Water is crucial for the emergence and evolution of life on Earth.

Recent studies of the water content in early forming planetary systems similar to our own show that water is an abundant and ubiquitous molecule, initially synthesized on the surfaces of tiny interstellar dust grains by the hydrogenation of frozen oxygen.

Water then enters a cycle of sublimation/freezing throughout the successive phases of planetary system formation, namely, hot corinos and protoplanetary disks, eventually to be incorporated into planets, asteroids, and comets. The amount of heavy water measured on Earth and in early forming planetary systems suggests that a substantial fraction of terrestrial water was inherited from the very first phases of the Solar System formation and is 4.5 billion years old.

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2212.05441 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2212.05441v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Journal reference: Elements, 18, 155, 2022
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Submission history
From: Cecilia Ceccarelli Prof
[v1] Sun, 11 Dec 2022 08:09:20 UTC (3,453 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) πŸ––πŸ»