Recent study shows that Earth's Carbon may came from planetary smashup

Today's, most of the Earth's life giving carbon may have come from a collision about 4.4 billion years ago between our planet and an embryonic planet similar to Mercury.


In a new study this week in Nature Geoscience, Rice petrologist Rajdeep Dasgupta and colleagues offer a new answer to a long-debated geological question: How did carbon-based life develop on Earth, given that most of the planet's carbon should have either boiled away in the planet's earliest days or become locked in Earth's ?


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-earth-carbon-planetary-smashup.html#jCp
In a new study this week in Nature Geoscience, Rice petrologist Rajdeep Dasgupta and colleagues offer a new answer to a long-debated geological question: How did carbon-based life develop on Earth, given that most of the planet's carbon should have either boiled away in the planet's earliest days or become locked in Earth's ?


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-earth-carbon-planetary-smashup.html#jCp
In a new study this week in Nature Geoscience, Rice petrologist Rajdeep Dasgupta and colleagues offer a new answer to a long debated geological question: How did carbon-based life develop on Earth, given that most of the planet's carbon should have either boiled away in the planet's earliest days or become locked in Earth's core?
In a new study this week in Nature Geoscience, Rice petrologist Rajdeep Dasgupta and colleagues offer a new answer to a long-debated geological question: How did carbon-based life develop on Earth, given that most of the planet's carbon should have either boiled away in the planet's earliest days or become locked in Earth's ?


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-earth-carbon-planetary-smashup.html#jCp
In a new study this week in Nature Geoscience, Rice petrologist Rajdeep Dasgupta and colleagues offer a new answer to a long-debated geological question: How did carbon-based life develop on Earth, given that most of the planet's carbon should have either boiled away in the planet's earliest days or become locked in Earth's ?


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-earth-carbon-planetary-smashup.html#jCp
In a new study this week in Nature Geoscience, Rice petrologist Rajdeep Dasgupta and colleagues offer a new answer to a long-debated geological question: How did carbon-based life develop on Earth, given that most of the planet's carbon should have either boiled away in the planet's earliest days or become locked in Earth's ?


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-earth-carbon-planetary-smashup.html#jCp
In a new study this week in Nature Geoscience, Rice petrologist Rajdeep Dasgupta and colleagues offer a new answer to a long-debated geological question: How did carbon-based life develop on Earth, given that most of the planet's carbon should have either boiled away in the planet's earliest days or become locked in Earth's ?


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-earth-carbon-planetary-smashup.html#jCp
In a new study this week in Nature Geoscience, Rice petrologist Rajdeep Dasgupta and colleagues offer a new answer to a long-debated geological question: How did carbon-based life develop on Earth, given that most of the planet's carbon should have either boiled away in the planet's earliest days or become locked in Earth's ?


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-earth-carbon-planetary-smashup.html#jCp

"The challenge is to explain the origin of the volatile elements like carbon that remain outside the core in the mantle portion of our planet," said Dasgupta. His lab specializes in recreating the high-pressure and high-temperature conditions that exist deep inside Earth and other rocky planets. His team squeezes rocks in hydraulic presses that can simulate conditions about 250 miles below Earth's surface or at the core-mantle boundary of smaller planets like Mercury.

"We had published several studies that showed that even if carbon did not vapourise into space when the planet was largely molten, it would end up in the metallic core of our planet, because the iron-rich alloys there have a strong affinity for carbon."

Earth's core, which is mostly iron, makes up about one-third of the planet's mass. Earth's silicate mantle accounts for the other two-thirds and extends more than 1,500 miles below Earth's surface. Earth's crust and atmosphere are so thin that they account for less than 1 percent of the planet's mass. The mantle, atmosphere and crust constantly exchange elements, including the volatile elements needed for life.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-earth-carbon-planetary-smashup.html#jCp
Earth's core, which is mostly iron, makes up about one-third of the planet's mass. Earth's silicate mantle accounts for the other two-thirds and extends more than 1,500 miles below Earth's surface. Earth's crust and atmosphere are so thin that they account for less than 1 percent of the planet's mass. The mantle, atmosphere and crust constantly exchange elements, including the volatile elements needed for life. If Earth's initial allotment of carbon boiled away into space or got stuck in the core, where did the carbon in the mantle and biosphere come from?

"One popular idea has been that volatile elements like carbon, sulphur, nitrogen and hydrogen were added after Earth's core finished forming," said Yuan Li, who was a postdoctoral researcher at Rice at the time of the study. And also said, "Any of those elements that fell to Earth in meteorites and comets more than about 100 million years after the solar system formed could have avoided the intense heat of the magma ocean that covered Earth up to that point."

In late 2013, Dasgupta's team decided to conduct experiments to gauge how sulphur or silicon might alter the affinity of iron for carbon. "We began exploring very sulphur-rich and silicon-rich alloys, in part because the core of Mars is thought to be sulphur-rich and the core of Mercury is thought to be relatively silicon-rich," Dasgupta said.

Experiments showed that carbon could be excluded from the core and relegated to the silicate mantle if the iron alloys in the core were rich in either silicon or sulphur. The team mapped out the relative concentrations of carbon that would arise under various levels of sulphur and silicon enrichment, and the researchers compared those concentrations to the known volatiles in Earth's silicate mantle.