Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Planet Earth: Missing chromium is clue to planet formation

Date:
February 24, 2011
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
Early in the formation of Earth, some forms of the element chromium separated and disappeared deep into the planet's core, a new study shows.

Early in the formation of Earth, some forms of the element chromium separated and disappeared deep into the planet's core, a new study by UC Davis geologists shows.

Related Articles


The finding, to be published online by the journal Science Feb. 24, will help scientists understand the early stages of planet formation, said Qing-Zhu Yin, professor of geology at UC Davis and coauthor on the paper.

Yin, former postdoctoral scholar Frederic Moynier and Edwin Schauble of the Department and Earth and Space Sciences at UCLA used specialized equipment at UC Davis to make very exact measurements of chromium isotopes in meteorites, compared to rocks from Earth's crust, and use modern high performance computers to simulate early Earth environment.

They studied a class of meteorites called chondrites, which are leftovers from the formation of the solar system over four and half billion years ago.

As well as adding shiny, rust-proof surfaces to metalwork, chromium adds color to emeralds and rubies. It exists as four stable (non-radioactive) isotopes with atomic masses of 50, 52, 53 and 54.

It has been known for decades that chromium isotopes are relatively underrepresented in Earth's mantle and crust, Yin said. That could either be because they were volatile and evaporated into space, or got sucked into Earth's deep core at some point.

By making very accurate measurements of chromium isotopes in the meteorites compared to Earth rocks and comparing them to theoretical predictions, the researchers were able to show for the first time that the lighter isotopes preferentially go into the core. From this the team inferred that some 65 percent of the missing chromium is most likely in Earth's core.

Furthermore, the separation must have happened early in the planet building process, probably in the multiple smaller bodies that assembled into Earth or when Earth was still molten but smaller than today.

Moynier is now assistant professor at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University in St Louis. The work was funded by grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Frederic Moynier, Qing-Zhu Yin and Edwin Schauble. Isotopic Evidence of Cr Partitioning into Earth’s Core. Science, 24 February 2011 DOI: 10.1126/science.1199597

Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "Planet Earth: Missing chromium is clue to planet formation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224145605.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2011, February 24). Planet Earth: Missing chromium is clue to planet formation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224145605.htm
University of California - Davis. "Planet Earth: Missing chromium is clue to planet formation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224145605.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins