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Earth History GEOL 2110 Lecture 10

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1 Earth History GEOL 2110 Lecture 10
Origin and Early Evolution of the Earth Part 1: Accretion of the Planets

2 Major Concepts The Earth and the other planets formed from a spinning solar nebula that was graded in composition from heavier elements nearer the sun, thus giving rise the inner rocky planets and the outer icy planets Earth formed by accretion of increasingly larger particles; moons may have formed by capture of large asteroids or impact of other planetesimals Early Earth became strongly heated by gravitational condensation, radioactive heating of short-lived isotopes, and impacting of asteroids; this resulted in partial melting and the differentiation of the iron core from the mantle Partial melting of the earth’s ultramafic mantle created the chemically distinctive crust of mafic and felsic composition

3 Early Ideas about the Origin of the Earth
Galileo (1564–1642) The Earth is not the center of the universe Buffon (1779) – originally molten planets spalled off the sun by passing comets Late 1800’s - accretion from a solar nebula Chamberlin & Moulton (1910) – Planetesimal hypothesis – a passing star pulled solar gases away from the sun to make the nebula. The gases and dust gradually accumulated to small planetesimal bodies that then accreted to each other by gravitational attraction to grow to planet size.

4 The Solar Nebula Theory
VON WEIZSACKER'S NEBULAR HYPOTHESIS (1944) KUIPER'S PROTOPLANET HYPOTHESIS (1951) Spinning nebular cloud of gas and dust flattens, contracts, and heats up at its core. Hydrogen fusion lights the sun. Thermonuclear energy creates eddies in the gas cloud which starts the accretion process ultimately leading to formation of protoplanets.

5 Early Planetary Differentiation
Large Protoplanet Stage Differentiated Planet

6 The Revised Solar Nebula Theory
In the thermal gradient of the solar nebula, different elemental compounds would have condensed at different temperatures. This explains the compositional progression of the planets from the heavy element-rich inner planets and light element-rich outer ones

7 The Revised Solar Nebula Theory

8 The Planets FuN FaCtS Density Rotation Revolution Tilt Temperature
Kg/m per Earth Day Earth Days degrees K Mercury   Venus   Earth   Mars   Jupiter ,   Saturn ,   Uranus ,   Neptune ,  

9 The Inner Terrestrial Planets
Atmosphere Tectonics? Core Mercury none No, heavily cratered Fe core 70vol% Venus % CO Volcanism Only Earth-like Earth N, O2, H20, CO2 You betcha liquid and solid Fe Mars Thin CO2 Used to Solid Fe

10 The Moon No Atmosphere No Core – bulk composition similar to Earth’s mantle – Hmmm Highlands ( Ma) – cratered pulverized anorthosite Mare ( Ma) - less cratered, flood basasts formed by melting due to meteor impact

11 Asteroids and Comets Asteroids are essentially chunks of rock that measure in size from a few feet to several miles in diameter. The largest asteroid, Ceres, is about 590 miles (950 kilometers) wide. Like most asteroids, it lies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Many astronomers believe the belt is primordial material that never glommed into a planet because of Jupiter's gravitational pull. Other astronomers say the belt is a planet that was broken apart during a collision. Comets are balls of rock and ice that grow tails as they approach the sun in the course of their highly elliptical orbits. As comets heat up, gas and dust are expelled and trail behind them. The sun illuminates this trail, causing it to glow. Short-period comets come from the Kuiper belt out beyond the orbit of Neptune and pass through the inner solar system once or twice in a human lifetime. Long-period comets come from the Oort Cloud, which rings the outer reaches of the solar system, and pass near the sun once every hundreds or thousands of years.

12 Earth The Goldilocks Planet Average whole Earth density – 5.5 g/cm3
Average crustal density – 2.8 g/cm3

13 Geophysics – Imaging the Deep Earth

14 Geophysics – Imaging the Deep Earth
Zone of Partial Melting Abrupt density increases due to mineral changes

15 Composition of the Earth
How Do We Know? Mantle xenoliths Ophiolite complexes Seismic data Density constraints Meteorites stony ~mantle iron ~core chondrites ~whole earth

16 Layers of the Earth Chemical Layers Physical Layers --Mohorovicic
Discontinuity OCEANIC CONTINENTAL CRUST CRUST SiO2 47% % Al2O3 16% % FeO 13% % MgO 10% % CaO 10% % Na2O 2% % K2O 0.7% % TiO % % P2O % % MANTLE SiO2 – 45% MgO – 37% FeO – 8% Al2O3 – 4% CaO – 3% others – 3% CORE Fe – 86% S – 10% Ni – 4% Chemical Layers Physical Layers = chondritic meteorites

17 Next Lecture Origin and Early Evolution of the Earth Part 2: Differentiation of Earth’s Spheres

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