New study finds Earth's oceans could've been caused by ancient asteroids

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Jun 25, 2015, 2:34 PM EDT (Updated)

Though we keep an eye toward the stars, scientists are still working to determine exactly how our little corner of the solar system was carved out. So, how did our massive oceans come to be?

A new study published in the Royal Astronomical Society posits that our oceans could’ve been caused by water-rich asteroids that crashed into our planet eons ago. The study proposes that our planet might have been a mostly dry place in the early days, until some icy asteroids slammed into Earth and created some oceans.

Here’s how lead study author Roberto Raddi, of the University of Warwick, explained the hypothesis:

"Our research has found that, rather than being unique, water-rich asteroids similar to those found in our Solar System appear to be frequent. Accordingly, many of planets may have contained a volume of water, comparable to that contained in the Earth. It is believed that the Earth was initially dry, but our research strongly supports the view that the oceans we have today were created as a result of impacts by water-rich comets or asteroids."

The study looked at a white dwarf star and determined that it had a high percentage of hydrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere, which could mean water is more common than we’d thought — not to mention water-filled asteroids that could be slamming into planets and stars all over the cosmos. The study also looked at several other white dwarves, which resulted in similar findings.

What do you think? Were oceans the result of prehistoric asteroid crashes?

(Via Gizmodo, Royal Astronomical Society)