Early Differentiation of the Earth and the Problem of Mantle Siderophile Elements: A New Approach

Science  19 Jul 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5017, pp. 303-306
DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5017.303

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The long-standing problem of the excess abundances of siderophile elements in the mantle can be resolved by considering an equilibrium core-mantle differentiation in the earth at 3000 to 3500 kelvin. This high-temperature differentiation results in mantle siderophile element abundances that closely match the observed values. Some lithophile (light) elements could enter the core in this process as is necessary to account for its low density. The abundances of siderophile elements in the mantle are consistent with the conclusion derived from the recent physical models that the earth was molten during accretion.

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