Article  Earth's water may not be primarily from meteorites + Venus may be volcanically active

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Where did Earth’s water come from? Not melted meteorites, according to scientists

INTRO: Water makes up 71% of Earth’s surface, but no one knows how or when such massive quantities of water arrived on Earth.

A new study published in the journal Nature brings scientists one step closer to answering that question. Led by University of Maryland Assistant Professor of Geology Megan Newcombe, researchers analyzed melted meteorites that had been floating around in space since the solar system’s formation 4 1/2 billion years ago. They found that these meteorites had extremely low water content—in fact, they were among the driest extraterrestrial materials ever measured.

These results, which let researchers rule them out as the primary source of Earth’s water, could have important implications for the search for water—and life—on other planets. It also helps researchers understand the unlikely conditions that aligned to make Earth a habitable planet.

“We wanted to understand how our planet managed to get water because it’s not completely obvious,” Newcombe said. “Getting water and having surface oceans on a planet that is small and relatively near the sun is a challenge.” (MORE - details)

UAF scientist offers evidence that Venus is volcanically active

INTRO: Venus appears to have volcanic activity, according to a new research paper that offers strong evidence to answer the lingering question about whether Earth’s sister planet currently has eruptions and lava flows.

Venus, although similar to Earth in size and mass, differs markedly in that it does not have plate tectonics. The boundaries of Earth’s moving surface plates are the primary locations of  volcanic activity.

New research by University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute research professor Robert Herrick revealed a nearly 1-square-mile volcanic vent that changed in shape and grew over eight months in 1991. Changes on such a scale on Earth are associated with volcanic activity, whether through an eruption at the vent or movement of magma beneath the vent that causes the vent walls to collapse and the vent to expand.

The research was published today in the journal Science... (MORE - details)

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