NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Was core formation violent enough to homogenize the early mantle?The dynamics of iron, its thermal state and its phase in the accreting Earth probably played a major role in the Earth's early thermal evolution. Plausible impact thermal histories make it possible that pure iron was molten in the accreting Earth after it was about 10% grown. Hence, iron eutectic alloys (FeS, FeO) certainly were. Additionally, the initial temperature of the core is an important constraint on the secular cooling of the early Earth and on the strength of the early geodynamo. Whether iron is solid or molten would influence geochemical equilibria in the upper and lower mantle; the mode of core formation, by spherical or near-spherical blobs, stalk-like instabilities, or something more catastrophic would influence the partitioning of siderophiles between silicate and iron phases. Early descent of iron (during accretion) favors partitioning according to low-pressure phase equilibria, whereas late descent favors higher pressure. The later core formation occurs, the greater the heat pulse, due to the strong dependence of gravitational potential energy on planetary radius. The heat may homogenize the mantle if core formation is global; otherwise, heterogeneity of iron differentiation may leave some of the pre-archean mantle unaffected. The larger the chunks of proto-core (and hence smaller surface/volume ratios) the greater the heterogeneity.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Cooperman, S. A. (California Univ. Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Kaula, W. M. (California Univ. Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst. Workshop on the Early Earth: The Interval from Accretion to the Older Archean
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Related Records

IDRelationTitle19850024749Analytic PrimaryWorkshop on the Early Earth: The Interval from Accretion to the Older Archean