Ancient Earth was indeed a calm underwater world, new evidence confirms

It is difficult to imagine what the earth would have looked like in the years before life began. Geological investigators have now found more evidence that it was different than the planet we live on today.

According to a new analysis of the features of the Earth’s crust over its long history, our entire world was once surrounded by vast oceans, with little or no land. It was a very foggy place.

So heck where did all the water go? According to a team of researchers led by planetary scientist Junji Dong at Harvard University, the minerals inside the mantle are slowly being absorbed into the ancient Earth’s oceans to release what we have.

The researchers wrote in their paper that “we calculated the ability to store water in the Earth’s solid mantle as a function of mantle temperature.”

“We think that the capacity to store water in the warmer, earlier mantle may be less than the amount currently present in the Earth’s crust, so the extra water in the mantle would have lived on the Earth’s surface early today and formed larger oceans.

“Our results suggest that the amount of surface oceans that remain almost constant over a period of geography may require a reassessment of long-standing assumptions.”

Deep deep underground, a large deal of water is thought to be stored in the form of hydroxy group compounds – made up of oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Specifically, water is stored in two high-pressure forms of the volcanic mineral olivine, hydrangea wadslite, and ringwhite. Wadslight deep unda underground samples can contain about 3 percent H2O by weight; About 1 percent ringwoodite.

Through research on the previous two minerals, they subjected the ures of the modern-day Earth’s crust to high pressure and temperature to figure out this storage capacity. Dong and his team saw a second chance. They compiled data on all available mineral physics, and determined the water storage capacity of the adsite daslite and ringwoodite over a wide range of temperatures.

The results show that the two minerals have less ability to store at high temperatures. Because baby Earth, which formed 4.4 billion billion years ago, was warmer internally than it is today (and its internal heat is still getting lower, which is much slower and has nothing to do with its outer atmosphere). Earth water storage mantle capacity was now more than one.

Moreover, as more olivine minerals crystallize from the Earth’s magma over time, the ability to store water in the mantle will increase in the same way.

Overall, the difference in water storage capacity will be significant, although the team was accurate in its calculations.

The researchers wrote that the bulk water storage capacity of the Earth’s solid crust was significantly affected by secular cooling due to the temperature-dependent storage capacity of its constituent minerals.

“Today the mantle’s water storage capacity is 1.86 to 4.41 times that of a modern surface sea mass.”

Researchers have found that if the water stored in the mantle today exceeds its storage capacity in the Archean ion, it is possible that 2.5 and 4 billion years ago, the world was flooded and the continents flourished.

The discovery is in agreement with a previous study that found some specific isotopes of oxygen oxygen preserved in ancient oceanographic geological records, which existed on Earth 3.3 billion years ago. Way Less land than today.

If this is the case, it is about other aspects of Earth’s history, such as life, about 3.5. Answers to burning questions that arose 3.5 billion years ago can help us. There is ongoing debate as to whether life was first formed in saltwater oceans or freshwater lakes in land seas; If the whole planet were surrounded by oceans, it would solve the mystery.

Moreover, the findings can also help us in our search for life in the outside world. Evidence suggests that ocean worlds abound in our universe, so finding the signatures of these disgusting planets can help identify potentially hospitable worlds. And it will strengthen the case for the discovery of ocean worlds such as our own solar system, Europa and Enceladus.

Not least, it helps us better understand the delicate evolution of our planet, and the surprising, often seemingly hospitable turn that ultimately leads to the emergence of humanity.

Research has been published in AGU Advances.