The report published this week in the prestigious international journal 'Science' means that textbook images of ancient Earth with huge volcanoes spewing gas into the atmosphere will have to be rethought.
According to the team, the age-old view that volcanoes were the source of the Earth's earliest atmosphere must be put to rest.
Using world-leading analytical techniques, the team of Dr Greg Holland, Dr Martin Cassidy and Professor Chris Ballentine tested volcanic gases to uncover the new evidence.
The research was funded by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
"We found a clear meteorite signature in volcanic gases," said Dr Greg Holland the project's lead scientist.
"From that we now know that the volcanic gases could not have contributed in any significant way to the Earth's atmosphere.
"Therefore the atmosphere and oceans must have come from somewhere else, possibly from a late bombardment of gas and water rich materials similar to comets.
"Until now, no one has had instruments capable of looking for these subtle signatures in samples from inside the Earth - but now we can do exactly that."
The techniques enabled the team to measure tiny quantities of the unreactive volcanic trace gases Krypton and Xenon, which revealed an isotopic 'fingerprint' matching that of meteorites which is different from that of 'solar' gases.
The study is also the first to establish the precise composition of the Krypton present in the Earth's mantle.
Project director Prof Chris Ballentine of The University of Manchester, said: "Many people have seen artist's impressions of the primordial Earth with huge volcanoes in the background spewing gas to form the atmosphere.
"We will now have to redraw this picture."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The paper: 'Meteorite Kr in Earth's Mantle Suggests a Late Accretionary Source for the Atmosphere' by Dr Greg Holland and Prof Chris J. Ballentine from the University of Manchester and Dr Martin Cassidy from the University of Houston. It is available on request.
The team used an instrument called a multicollector noble gas mass. Multicollection or measuring several isotopes at the same time rather than one after another improves the precision of the measurements. This coupled with the type of sample we are using means we can get higher precision measurements than anyone else - hence we can see these small primitive signatures.
For more information please contact Alex Waddington, Media Relations Officer, University of Manchester, 0161 275 8387 / 07717 881569.
Alex Waddington | EurekAlert!
Water cooling for the Earth's crust
22.11.2017 | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)
Retreating permafrost coasts threaten the fragile Arctic environment
22.11.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
22.11.2017 | Business and Finance
22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy