Determining the source of Earth's oceans is a longstanding problem in planetary science. Possible sources of water include water ice or water of hydration of silicate minerals in the original material from which the bulk Earth accreted and water brought in by late-arriving planetesimals during the heavy bombardment period (4.5-3.8 Gyr ago) [Chyba, 1989, 1991]. Comets are an attractive source of water because their origin in the outer solar system is consistent with the long timescale for heavy bombardment. However, the high deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) ratio of the three comets that have been studied, Halley, Hyakutake, and Hale-Bopp, indicates that Earth must have had a source with a low-D/H ratio as well. Here we suggest that solar wind-implanted hydrogen on interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) provided the necessary low-D/H component of Earth's water inventory.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science
- Atmospheric Science
- Astronomy and Astrophysics