Report

Late Accretion on the Earliest Planetesimals Revealed by the Highly Siderophile Elements

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Science  06 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6077, pp. 72-75
DOI: 10.1126/science.1214967

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Coming Late to the Planetesimal

Highly siderophile (iron-loving) elements (Re, Os, Ir, Ru, Rh, Pt, Pd, and Au) must have been added to the mantles of Earth, the Moon, and Mars after their iron cores formed; otherwise the mantles would be devoid of these elements, which tend to be segregated to the core. Dale et al. (p. 72) report data on highly siderophile elements in rocks from different planetary bodies, including asteroid 4 Vesta and other differentiated asteroids, which are representative of the planetesimals from which the solar system planets formed. Like the larger planetary bodies, differentiated asteroids, which formed over the first few million years of the solar system, bear the evidence of the late addition of highly siderophile elements to their mantles. Thus, this process was not unique to Earth, the Moon, and Mars and happened over an extended period of time in the inner solar system.

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