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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Have you ever wondered….How Did Earth Get So Ocean-y? Unveiling the Mystery of Our Watery World

Have you ever wondered where all the water on Earth came from? It’s a mind-boggling question, especially when you consider that Earth was once a scorching hot ball of rock! Scientists believe there are several ways our planet got so ocean-y, and here are the top theories:

• Volcanic Steam Show: Imagine Earth as a giant pot of boiling soup in its early days, around 4.5 billion years ago. As it cooled, water vapor (like the steam rising from your pot) along with other gasses puffed out of the hot rock through volcanoes. Eventually, this vapor turned into clouds and rained down, filling the Earth’s basins and forming the first oceans.

• Icy Delivery Service: Another theory suggests Earth received a cool (literally!) delivery of water from space in the form of comets and asteroids. Billions of years ago, a period called the “Late Heavy Bombardment” saw lots of icy comets and asteroids crash into Earth. The ice they carried melted upon impact, adding even more water to our watery mix.

• Gassy Mantle Burps: Picture Earth’s insides like a giant soda bottle with bubbles. As the Earth’s crust solidified, trapped water vapor and other gasses kept fizzing out through volcanic eruptions over millions of years. This constant “burping” added more and more water to the surface, filling the oceans bit by bit.

• Underwater Plate Recycling: This one involves a bit of a crunch. Imagine giant slabs of rock (tectonic plates) slowly moving around Earth. At certain spots, these plates collide, and one gets shoved under the other, like a recycling truck flattening a can. When this watery ocean crust gets shoved down, it releases water vapor and other gasses through volcanoes. This process, called “subduction and degassing,” helps keep Earth’s oceans topped up.

• Watery Birthplace: This theory is a bit newer and suggests that water molecules might have been hanging around since the very beginning! Scientists believe the solar system formed from a giant cloud of dust and gas. This cloud might have already contained water molecules, and some of them got stuck to Earth as it formed, giving our planet its water content.

So, the answer to our watery world is likely a combination of these factors. Volcanoes releasing steam, icy space rocks crashing down, gasses constantly bubbling out, and even water from the birth of our solar system all played a role in creating the vast oceans that cover most of Earth’s surface today!

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