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For how long has water been on Earth for?

For how long has water been on Earth for?
Vic from Tyne and Wear (Age: 25-34)

Where did all the water come from [which makes up] the sea?
Mason Williams from Swansea (Age 5-14)

Where did water originally come from and how did it form?
Lewis Jones from Staffordshire (Age: 5-14)


2 Responses

  1. It seems highly likely that there has been water on the Earth since it first formed around 4,600 million years ago.
    It is widely thought that the Earth and most of the other planets in the Solar System formed from ice-covered dust particles. This ice, which was responsible for making the grains stick together to form snow-ball-sized lumps called planetesimals, consisted of water, methane, carbon dioxide and similar light molecules. These would, no doubt, have boiled when the planetesimals formed into planets (under the force of gravity) but once the plants cooled down they would have condensed into liquid.
    The outer planets are covered now in frozen ice, including water. It’s also common on all other planets, making it pretty sure that it has been there since they were formed.

  2. Water has been part of the Earth for pretty much as long as the Earth itself has been around – about 4560 million years – because it was part of the material that the Earth formed from. More would have been delivered by asteroids and comets in big impacts after the Earth accreted. Eventually you would have got water at the surface of the Earth as the planet cooled. We don’t know yet when the first oceans formed, but chances are it was within a couple of hundred million years after the Earth itself.

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