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Nitrogen on Earth

23 January 2021

Another study seeking to explain an anomaly. Did the nitrogen on earth have an origin in the rocks that make up the crust. See https://phys.org/news/2021-01-earth-nitrogen-locally-sourced.html … it is thought by astrophysicists, and constrained by cosmologists, that proto planetary volatile elements were separated into two reservoirs. The inner solar system material is thought to have had a lower nitrogen content than the outer solar system, mainly because it is thought the rocky planets and the environment they grew up in was just too hot for volatile elements to survive. This is a hypothesis which is worth noting as they may be arguing over pie in the sky. The theory of a lower  nitrogen content in the inner solar system had the unexpected consequence, at the time, in how to explain the presence of so much nitrogen on the earth as inherited by humans. One idea has always been that they arrived in meteorites. These pieces of debris were once imagined as left over material from the formation of the solar system. Modern research has shown this is far from the case in all meteorites. In spite of that the theory has stuck like glue as there is no other way to explain the nitrogen. A bit like water. In fact, as it has recently been found that water, in the form of hydrogen and oxygen. has been a component of the earth from the beginning, one has to wonder why nitrogen can't simply be seen in a similar role. 

The isotopic signature of nitrogen in iron meteorites was used in support of the delivery theory, from the outer solar  system. The new study still accepts this but adds a caveat. They acknowledge it is likely earth gathered its nitrogen from beyond the orbit of Jupiter but they now propose that it also gathered up nitrogen from the dust in the inner proto planetary disk. Nitrogen, along with carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, make life possible on the earth. It is therefore an important element. Not only that the new study claims it will bring an end to a prolonged debate over the origin of essential elements for life on planet earth. Hold you hands up if you were told there was a debate going on. Certainly not in the presence of Joe Bloggs. They've been banging their own heads together. We are also told the rocky planets emerged in the inner disk by accreting locally sourced dust – and there was lots of it. In doing so it scooped up nitrogen and other volatile elements. Does that mean it was not so hot in the inner solar  system at this time? or were other processes also taking place.

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