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 24, 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 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) The capture of deadly Japanese pufferfish in the waters of Crimea is causing concern for fishermen and scientists alike. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) An aquarium captures a first-of-its kind video of a notoriously camera-shy fish that’s also not so camera-friendly. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
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