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Tiny variations in silver are giving scientists a new look at Earth's timetable.
Image Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

Silver Tells a Story of Early Earth: Water Here Since Planet's Very Early Days

A new study shows that water might have been present very early in the formation of Earth. Before this new information, scientists thought water came to Earth from comets.

Scientists have learned this by studying isotopes found in meteorites and rocks from the Earth. They looked into how long ago it was that rocks on Earth contained elements such as hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and silver.

Richard Carlson, one of the authors of the study, said, "We found that the silver isotope ratios in mantle rocks from the Earth exactly matched those in primitive meteorites."

The addition of material such as carbon, nitrogen, and water could have occurred in a single event like the giant collision between the early Earth and an object the size of Mars that probably caused the formation of Earth's moon.

Last modified June 8, 2010 by Becca Hatheway.

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