Friday, 11 Dec, 2009 Science

Our Atmosphere Appeared After Meteorites Bombardment


Previously researchers believed that the atmosphere of our planet, the minerals and gases, were hidden deep inside the Earth's crust and were released as a result of enormous volcanic eruptions.

However, now scientists consider that the atmosphere along with oceans that produced the first life organisms came to our planet from outer space and most likely they arrived on the back of meteorites or comets billions of years after our planet formed.

According to Dr Greg Holland, of the University of Manchester, he and his colleagues managed to discover in volcanic gases a clear signature of a meteorite. "From that we now know the volcanic gases could not have contributed in any significant way to the Earth's atmosphere," he added.

Dr Holland considers that the atmosphere and oceans probably came from a shower of gas and water rich materials that are close to the ones in comets. In order to find new evidence, researchers analyzed volcanic gases, reports The Daily Telegraph. The team discovered Krypton and Xenon, volcanic gases that represent the chemical fingerprint equivalent to that of meteorites.

After the formation of the Earth's core, the latter was covered by an ocean of magma. The powerful bombardment by meteorites mixed with the heat coming from our planet's core transformed rocks into gases. The dense atmosphere formed a few million years afterwards.

Posted by Maxriter

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