Impact delivery and erosion of planetary oceans in the early inner Solar System

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Abstract

The terrestrial planets may have acquired oceans of water (and other surface volatiles) as a late-accreting veneer from impacts of comets and carbonaceous asteroids during the period of heavy bombardment 4.5 to 3.5 Gyr ago. On any given body, the efficiency of this mechanism depended on a competition between impact delivery of new volatiles and impact erosion of those already present. For the larger worlds of the inner Solar System, this competition strongly favoured the net accumulation of planetary oceans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-133
Number of pages5
JournalNature
Volume343
Issue number6254
DOIs
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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