Research Article

142Nd Evidence for Early (>4.53 Ga) Global Differentiation of the Silicate Earth

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Science  22 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5734, pp. 576-581
DOI: 10.1126/science.1113634

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New high-precision samarium-neodymium isotopic data for chondritic meteorites show that their 142Nd/144Nd ratio is 20 parts per million lower than that of most terrestrial rocks. This difference indicates that most (70 to 95%) of Earth's mantle is compositionally similar to the incompatible element–depleted source of mid-ocean ridge basalts, possibly as a result of a global differentiation 4.53 billion years ago (Ga), within 30 million years of Earth's formation. The complementary enriched reservoir has never been sampled and is probably located at the base of the mantle. These data influence models of Earth's compositional structure and require revision of the timing of global differentiation on Earth's Moon and Mars.

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