Accretion of the Earth and segregation of its core

Bernard J. Wood*, Michael J. Walter, Jonathan Wade

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    273 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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)825-833
    Number of pages9
    JournalNature
    Volume441
    Issue number7095
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2006

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  • Cite this

    Wood, B. J., Walter, M. J., & Wade, J. (2006). Accretion of the Earth and segregation of its core. Nature, 441(7095), 825-833. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04763