WASHINGTON: Earth most likely received the bulk of its carbon, nitrogen and other elements essential for life from the planetary collision that created the Moon over 4.4 billion years ago, according to a study led by Indian-origin scientists.

"From the study of primitive meteorites, scientists have long known that Earth and other rocky planets in the inner solar system are volatile-depleted. But the timing and mechanism of volatile delivery has been hotly debated," said Rajdeep Dasgupta from the Rice University in the US.

"Ours is the first scenario that can explain the timing and delivery in a way that is consistent with all of the geochemical evidence," said Dasgupta, co-author of the study published in the journal Science Advances.

In a series of experiments, Rice University graduate student Damanveer Grewal gathered evidence to test a long-standing theory that Earth's volatiles arrived from a collision with an embryonic planet that had a sulphur-rich core.

The sulphur content of the donor planet's core matters because of the puzzling array of experimental evidence about the carbon, nitrogen and sulphur that exist in all parts of the Earth other than the core.

"The core doesn't interact with the rest of Earth, but everything above it, the mantle, the crust, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere, are all connected. Material cycles between them," Grewal said.

One long-standing idea about how Earth received its volatiles was the "late veneer" theory that volatile-rich meteorites, leftover chunks of primordial matter from the outer solar system, arrived after Earth's core formed.

While the isotopic signatures of Earth's volatiles match these primordial objects, known as carbonaceous chondrites, the elemental ratio of carbon to nitrogen is off.

Earth's non-core material, which geologists call the bulk silicate Earth, has about 40 parts carbon to each part nitrogen, about twice the 20-1 ratio seen in carbonaceous chondrites.

Grewal's experiments, which simulated the high pressures and temperatures during core formation, tested the idea that a sulphur-rich planetary core might exclude carbon or nitrogen, or both, leaving much larger fractions of those elements in the bulk silicate as compared to Earth.

Grewal examined how much carbon and nitrogen made it into the core in three scenarios: no sulphur, 10 per cent sulphur and 25 per cent sulphur.

"Nitrogen was largely unaffected. It remained soluble in the alloys relative to silicates, and only began to be excluded from the core under the highest sulphur concentration," he said.

Carbon, by contrast, was considerably less soluble in alloys with intermediate sulphur concentrations, and sulphur-rich alloys took up about 10 times less carbon by weight than sulphur-free alloys.

Using this information, along with the known ratios and concentrations of elements both on Earth and in non-terrestrial bodies, the researchers designed a computer simulation to find the most likely scenario that produced Earth's volatiles.

Finding the answer involved varying the starting conditions, running about one billion scenarios and comparing them against the known conditions in the solar system today.

"What we found is that all the evidence — isotopic signatures, the carbon-nitrogen ratio and the overall amounts of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur in the bulk silicate Earth — are consistent with a moon-forming impact involving a volatile-bearing, Mars-sized planet with a sulphur-rich core," Grewal said.


Dasgupta said better understanding the origin of Earth's life-essential elements has implications beyond our solar system.
"This study suggests that a rocky, Earth-like planet gets more chances to acquire life-essential elements if it forms and grows from giant impacts with planets that have sampled different building blocks, perhaps from different parts of a protoplanetary disk," he said.
"It shows that life-essential volatiles can arrive at the surface layers of a planet, even if they were produced on planetary bodies that underwent core formation under very different conditions," Dasgupta said.
It does not appear that Earth's bulk silicate, on its own, could have attained the life-essential volatile budgets that produced our biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere, he said.
Read more: Moon collision made life possible on Earth

coal, coal sector, coal industry

coal, coal sector, coal industry

The company has already taken up the Naini coal block in Odisha that has a capacity of 500 MT and is in the process of taking up a new one, New Patrapura block.

Public sector coal miner Singareni Collieries Company (SCCL) is planning a capital expenditure (capex) of Rs 10,000 crore to be invested over the next five years.

The investment would cover acquisition of new coal blocks, expansion in new mines and setting up of power plants. The management has set a target of 85 million tonne (MT) of coal production by the end of 2022-23 from 62.01 MT achieved in 2017-18. SCCL has 47 coal mines and has cash reserves of Rs 6,000 crore.

“During the past few years, Singareni Collieries has witnessed a rapid growth in terms of output, revenues and profit, putting the company into a profitable path. To sustain the growth momentum, SCCL is looking at expansion, taking up new mines in the state and coal blocks in other states,” chairman and managing director N Sridhar said. “SCCL will be taking up seven blocks in other states and 48 mines in Telangana to meet the power demands of the state and also the demand from other states. For this fiscal, the capex earmarked is Rs 2,000 crore with coal production of 68 MT.”

The company has already taken up the Naini coal block in Odisha that has a capacity of 500 MT and is in the process of taking up a new one, New Patrapura block. Apart from this, Singareni is also gearing up to take six more new blocks in Odisha and Chhattisgarh states. Telangana’s chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who has special interest in the diversification of SCCL, has wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard . Once these new blocks are taken up, SCCL will reach a total production of 100 MT.

The company’s thermal power plant has stood fourth nationally by producing 19,036 million units of power through its 1,200 megawatt (MW), besides a 800 MW critical thermal power plant is also on the cards. Further, a 300 MW capacity solar power plant are also being taken up in 12 areas. This is expected to be completed by 2018-19 with an initial capacity of 130 MW.

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Read more: SCCL plans Rs 10,000-crore capex, eyes new coal...

tamil nadu, employment

tamil nadu, employment

A file photo of Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami

The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday announced a new startup and innovation policy targeting to create around 5,000 startups, including 10 global high-growth firms, a minimum of one lakh high-skilled jobs in the startup ecosystem by 2023.

The Tamil Nadu government is proposing to set up a Rs 250-crore fund to fund startups. The fund will be managed by a professional financial agency such as SIDBI. It will be registered as an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) under Sebi. The state will invest Rs 75 crore in the fund and the first tranche of Rs 25 crore will be allotted in 2019-2020.

Besides, a Tamil Nadu Startup Seed Grant Fund (TNSSGF) of Rs 50 crore, an allotment of Rs 5 crore in the first year will be created in partnership with financial institutions and universities for supporting early-stage financing requirements of startups in the form of grants to fill the gap in fund requirement for research and innovations, the policy said.

The TNSSGF would also provide funding for Idea-to-PoC (Proof of Concept) stages, which are pre-startup activities. This will be similar to the erstwhile Technopreneur Promotion Programme (TePP) grant provided by DSIR and would support prototyping and testing of innovative ideas of students/faculty/individuals.

Tamil Nadu Startup and innovaTN Mission (TANSIM) will manage this fund, which will be governed by a professional Scientific Startup Seed Fund Board.

The 2018-2023 policy aims to provide an enabling, innovative ecosystem in the state.

Implementation of the policy will enable the state to emerge as the “Knowledge Capital” and “Innovation Hub” of the country. It will also attract entrepreneurs and investors across the globe, said the policy.

The policy is presumed to nurture innovation, investment in R&D, infrastructure, knowledge creation, technological development and skilled manpower, resulting in high-growth entrepreneurial ventures across the spectrum of sectors, from agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, education and logistics to the social sector, urban development, environment, fintech and ICT.

The thrust areas include transportation and logistics, electrical and electronics, healthcare and biotech, agriculture, renewable energy, climate change, fintech, textile, information technology (IT), internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and software as a service (SaaS).

The government also said that it would provide adequate incentives and resources to startups, facilitators, mentors and investors to promote the startup culture in the state and said it would reduce the existing regulatory and tax burden on startups in the field of labour, pollution and building norms and base these on self-certification.

The state is also planning to set up startup hubs in Chennai, Coimbatore, Salem-Erode, Madurai, Trichy-Thanjavur and Tirunelveli.

Also read: Google and LG like Smart TVs. So should privacy cops: Alex Webb

The government has identified five priority actions, including creating conducive ecosystem for encouraging entrepreneurship and innovations, ensuring adequate resources channelised to the startup ecosystem, enabling skill development and inclusive job creation, extending support to social entrepreneurship for a positive social impact and inclusion and establishing global accessibility, connections and partnerships.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Read more: Tamil Nadu startup policy to create 5000 firms,...

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