Diamond The ancient and volatile gases they contain revealed that the chemical composition of ambiance Earth has been ripe for the diversity of life at least 2.7 billion years ago, according to a study presented at the Goldschmidt International Conference on Geochemistry.
team of researchers The Canadians and the French used ancient diamonds – which look a little like today – as if they were a “time capsule” to understand the conditions inside the Earth’s mantle and saw that the proportion of volatile gases it contained had changed little in the past 2,700 million years.
This indicates that “one of the basic conditions necessary for the continuation of life, the presence of vital elements in sufficient quantities, appeared shortly after the formation of Earth And it has remained fairly steady ever since.”
Volatile substances, such as hydrogen, nitrogen, neon, and carbon-bearing species, are light chemical compounds and elements that can easily evaporate due to changes in temperature or pressure, but are also essential for life.
These materials mostly originate from the planet’s interior and are brought to the surface through volcanic eruptions for example; So you know when they got to ambiance It is a key to understanding when the conditions for the origin and evolution of life were fulfilled.
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The team used a file Diamond To learn the internal conditions of the Earth’s mantle – which begins about 30 kilometers below the surface – in the distant past.
Studying the current structure of the mantle is “relatively simple”, explained lead researcher Michael Broadley of the University of Lorraine (France), but it was not the same as in the past, where the movement of tectonic plates caused the mantle to destroy. • Most samples.
Diamonds, however, he added, are “relatively indestructible, they are perfect time capsules.” The team studied diamonds trapped in 2.7 billion-year-old rocks in Lake Superior in Canada. Thus it is known that it is at least as old as the rocks in which it is found, but is likely to be older, because it is difficult to determine its date.
These diamonds are “very rare and not like the beautiful gemstones we think of when we think of diamonds,” the expert explained, adding that they were heated to more than 2,000 degrees to turn them into graphite, releasing small amounts of gas for your measurement.
The team measured isotopes of helium, neon, and argon and found that they were present in similar proportions to those in today’s upper mantle.
It was a “surprising” result, Brodley noted, and that it means that the volatile, rich environment we see today is not a recent development: “Our work shows that these conditions have been in place for at least 2.7 billion years, but the diamonds we use can be much older, so it’s a good idea.” It may have been given earlier.”
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