A study by an international team of scientists showed that nitrogen, carbon and water did not appear on Earth immediately. Scientists suggest that these elements appeared after the formation of the planet.
An international group of geologists, led by scientists from the University of Cologne, found evidence that a significant part of the elements that are essential for life, such as water, carbon and nitrogen, were brought to Earth at a late stage in its formation.
Previously, many scientists believed that these elements were already present at the moment when the Earth began to form. However, geological studies now show that most of the water was actually delivered to the Earth when its formation was almost complete. New discoveries resulting from the collaboration of scientists from Germany, Denmark, Wales, Australia and Japan will be published in the journal Nature.
It is generally accepted that volatile elements, such as water, come from asteroids that formed in the outer solar system. However, experts are constantly debating about when exactly they appeared on Earth. To resolve these disputes, scientists compared the composition of the oldest mantle rocks of the Archean Aeon with the composition of asteroids from which they could be formed.
“If we find traces of the rare platinum metals in the Earth’s mantle, then we can assume that they appeared only after the formation of the core was completed”, the researchers said.