Origin of water in the inner Solar System: A kinetic Monte Carlo study of water adsorption on forsterite

Krishna Muralidharan, Pierre Deymier, Marilena Stimpfl, Nora H. de Leeuw, Michael J. Drake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

The origin of water in the inner Solar System is not well understood. It is believed that temperatures were too high in the accretion disk in the region of the terrestrial planets for hydrous phases to be thermodynamically stable. Suggested sources of water include direct adsorption of hydrogen from the nebula into magma oceans after the terrestrial planets formed, and delivery of asteroidal or cometary material from beyond the zone of the terrestrial planets. We explore a new idea, direct adsorption of water onto grains prior to planetary accretion. This hypothesis is motivated by the observation that the accretion disk from which our planetary system formed was composed of solid grains bathed in a gas dominated by hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Some of that hydrogen and oxygen combined to make water vapor. We examine quantitatively adsorption of water onto grains in the inner Solar System accretion disk by exploring the adsorption dynamics of water molecules onto forsterite surfaces via kinetic Monte Carlo simulations. We conclude that many Earth oceans of water could be adsorbed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-407
Number of pages8
JournalIcarus
Volume198
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Keywords

  • Accretion
  • Origin
  • Planetary formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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