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Earth’s water may have been inherited from material similar to enstatite chondrite meteorites

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Science  28 Aug 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6507, pp. 1110-1113
DOI: 10.1126/science.aba1948

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An unexpected source of Earth's water

The abundances of Earth's chemical elements and their isotopic ratios can indicate which materials formed Earth. Enstatite chondrite (EC) meteorites provide a good isotopic match for many elements but are expected to contain no water because they formed in the hot inner Solar System. This would require Earth's water to be from a different source, such as comets. Piani et al. measured hydrogen contents and deuterium/hydrogen ratios (D/H) in 13 EC meteorites (see the Perspective by Peslier). They found far more hydrogen than is commonly assumed, with D/H close to that of Earth's mantle. Combining these data with cosmochemical models, they show that most of Earth's water could have formed from hydrogen delivered by EC meteorites.

Science, this issue p. 1110; see also p. 1058

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