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a guy in Greenland
Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen on Unsplash

Danish geologists now know where the oceans came from

Geologist Kristoffer Szilas leads a group of scientists from the University of Copenhagen, among others, which has found a truly unique isotope composition of the chemical element ruthenium in some ancient rocks in Greenland. They believe that this proves that the water on our planet came with meteorites from the outer part of the Solar System after the Earth and the Moon were formed.

The theory that it was the meteorites from the outer Solar System —the so-called chondrites— that brought the water to Earth has been problematic. Until now, all the meteorites found on Earth had a completely different isotope composition than that of our planet and could not prove how the oceans were formed.  A rock sample found in Greenland has, for the first time, the isotope fingerprint that could validate the theory.

Kristoffer Szilas from the Department of Geosciences and Natural Management at the University of Copenhagen has made the discovery of the multi-billion-year-old rocks northeast of Nuuk in Greenland. Anne Niluka Iversen of Science Stories visited his office to hear more about what these findings can tell us about Earth's oceans.

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Science Stories is supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.