These Are The Questions About Planet Earth That Are Yet to Be Answered
In 1970, the time of the first Earth Day, geologists were still busy with the finishing details of plate tectonics. Plate tectonics is the scientific model that describes how the surface of the Earth takes its shape. Over four decades later, many riddles remain unsolved about the Earth. The Earth may be our home planet, but it certainly is mysterious in many ways! Here we have gathered a few of the biggest questions that scientists have about our humble home planet.
Where Did Water Come From?
Scientists believed that planet Earth was a dry rock after its coalescing about 4.5 billion years ago. This brings the question about where the water came from. H2O is an essential substance for life, and yet Earth is believed to have once been dry. There are a couple of ideas, like perhaps an interstellar delivery system forming massive impacts 4 billion years ago.
Another theory suggests the icy asteroids pummeling the Earth. However, these are all speculative and how Earth got its water remains a complete mystery since there is so little rock evidence from this period way back into the beginning of the planet.
What’s In the Core?
The Earth’s core is a topic that has long been discussed by fascinated writers and educated scientists. There was a time when scientists thought they had the core all figured out. During the 1940s, scientists used meteorites as a proxy to gauge Earth’s original balance of essential minerals, then noted which were missing. They deduced that the iron and nickel absent from the planet’ ‘s crust should be in the core. However, come the 1950s, and gravity measurements blew this theory out of the water. The core turned out too light, and today researchers are still guessing at what elements could be in Earth’s core. Periodic reversals of the planet’s magnetic field puzzle them even further!
Where Did the Moon Come From?
The giant impactor theory is a theory that works to explain the formation of the Moon. It derives from the idea that a Mars-sized protoplanet may have collided with the Earth. And this titanic collision could have produced the Moon we have today. However, some of the details simply don’t fit in.
The Moon and the Earth’s composition are so close that a few studies suggest that the formation of the Moon was from the Earth itself. Other models suggest that a young Earth may have spun quickly enough on its axis to have flung off enough molten rock to form a chemically similar moon.
Where Did Life Begin?
The question of where life began is an age-old one that remains unsolved even today. When it comes to the beginning of life, the two main schools of thought are that life began in interstellar space and by meteorite delivery. Or that life was brewing right here on Earth in a primordial soup. Ice grains within asteroids are composed of the basic components of life. This includes vitamins and amino acids, which usually forms in the most extreme environments. The idea is that the first signs of life on Earth were rock-eating bacteria. But there is no discovery yet on any direct fossils of such primitive inhabitants.
Where Did Oxygen Come From?
Human existence is a result of cyanobacteria, which are microscopic life forms that aided the complete transformation of Earth’s atmosphere. According to studies, these creatures were excreting oxygen as a waste product of their life processes. It thereby filled the Earth’s skies with oxygen for the first time a whopping 2.4 billion years ago. However, the study of rocks has yielded that oxygen levels fluctuated like a rollercoaster for 3 billion years.
Oxygen levels leveled out at around the Cambrian Period, which was about 541 million years ago. The question remains, whether bacteria spiked the atmosphere with oxygen, or whether there was another contributing factor. The shift to an oxygen-rich atmosphere around Earth is essential to decoding the history of life.
There are still many more questions about our home planet that remain unanswered. Questions like what caused the Cambrian explosion? Or, when did plate tectonics begin? Have kept scientists with their nose buried in research for ages. We are still a long way away from cracking the code and finding answers to these many questions.
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