An international team of researchers has found evidence of water movement in meteorites that recently hit Earth.
The team studied carbonaceous chondrite (CC) meteorites that made an impact on the Earth within the last 100 years. This finding is significant as it speaks to a theory held by some that the water on Earth came from meteorites.
So far, meteorites discovered on Earth do not have any water. Therefore, these scientists studied the isotopes of the meteorites. The researchers looked at uranium and thorium distributions in samples in their CC meteorite samples. Since uranium is water-soluble and thorium isn’t the theory goes that if there was water in the meteorite it would move as it melted and this would be reflected in these isotopes.
“These meteorites contain evidence of reactions with liquid water that was thought to have been lost or completely frozen billions of years ago,” said the paper.
“Because this signature disappears after several half-lives of the radioactive isotopes, the meteorites must have been exposed to liquid within the past million years. The authors suggest that ice may have melted during the impacts that ejected the meteorites from their parent bodies.”