Geophysics

Coupled constraints on core formation

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Science  16 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6258, pp. 289-290
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6258.289-g

The composition of Earth's core puts important constraints on the formation and evolution of the planet. Badro et al. apply a new approach that requires harmony between the geochemistry of the rocky mantle and the seismic wave speed velocities in the metal core. The approach requires a core with more oxygen and less silicon than in older models. Surprisingly, this in turn requires a more oxidized mantle for the early Earth, similar to that of the asteroid 4-Vesta. Core formation then dramatically alters mantle chemistry, producing the more reduced mantle observed today.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1505672112 (2015).

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