THE origins* of Earth’s oceans and atmosphere may lie in collisions with icy meteorites or comets rather than volcanic releases of water and gas from deep within the planet, new Australian research suggests.
Seawater cycles have been detected* at depths of up to 2900km below the Earth’s surface, much deeper than previously* thought, which has reopened questions about how the atmosphere and oceans formed, an Australian National University study says.
Previously, scientists largely believed the seas and atmosphere formed by the release of water and gas from the Earth’s mantle* through volcanic activity during the planet’s first 100 million years.
“Our findings make alternative theories for the origin of the atmosphere and oceans equally plausible*, such as icy comets or meteorites bringing water to the Earth,” said lead researcher Mark Kendrick from the ANU.
The study, published in Nature Geoscience, was done with the University of Tasmania, Institut Universitaire Europeen de la Mer in France, the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre, the University of California Santa Barbara and the University of Florida.
origins: how something began
mantle: the layer of earth between the hot middle and the surface
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Activity 1. Ocean Study
After reading the Kids News article on the origin of the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere, complete the three statements below:
— Originally, scientists believed that the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere originated from …..
– New scientific research suggests that the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere were formed by ….
– The study was completed by scientists from ….
Extension: Read the full article of the research at http://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/study-opens-new-questions-on-how-the-atmosphere-and-oceans-formed
and summarise the extra information presented in this article compared to the Kids News article.
Time: Allow 20 minutes to complete this task
Curriculum links: English, Science
Activity 2 . Meteorites v Comets
What are the similarities and differences between Meteorites and Comets? Complete a space-themed Venn diagram to compare them both. A good website to read about meteorites and comets is http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/space/cometasteroidmeteoroiddifferences.html.
Ensure you have a big heading, label the circles of the Venn diagram and decorate your paper in a space theme.
Extension: Research a famous comet or meteor and present your findings on a poster or slide show.
Time: Allow 40 minutes to complete this task
Curriculum links: Science, Critical & Creative Thinking
(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)
A Sea of Similies
A Simile is figure of speech where one thing is compared with another thing of a different kind. It is used to make writing more emphatic or vivid. e.g. as brave as a lion
Can you create a Simile using the following words?
1. As Icy as a ______
2. As _____ as the ocean
3. As ______ as the sea
4. As _____ as a meteorite
5. As ______ as the Earth
Extension: Try to create 5 of your own about a topic of your choosing.
Time: Allow 10 minutes to complete this task
Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP
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