Accretion of the Earth and segregation of its core

BJ Wood, MJ Walter, J Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

294 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Earth took 30-40 million years to accrete from smaller 'planetesimals'. Many of these planetesimals had metallic iron cores and during growth of the Earth this metal re-equilibrated with the Earth's silicate mantle, extracting siderophile ('iron-loving') elements into the Earth's iron-rich core. The current composition of the mantle indicates that much of the re-equilibration took place in a deep (> 400 km) molten silicate layer, or 'magma ocean', and that conditions became more oxidizing with time as the Earth grew. The high-pressure nature of the core-forming process led to the Earth's core being richer in low-atomic-number elements, notably silicon and possibly oxygen, than the cores of the smaller planetesimal building blocks.
Translated title of the contributionAccretion of the Earth and segregation of its core
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825 - 833
Number of pages9
JournalNature
Volume441 (7095)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

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