Thursday August 6th 2020

T. Sasaki & Y. Abe, EPS (2007)

投稿日時:2007/09/28  カテゴリー:Recent Publications

Takanori Sasaki & Yutaka Abe, Rayleigh-Taylor Instability after Giant Impacts: Imperfect equilibration of Hf-W system and its effect on the core formation age, EPS, 59, 1035-1045 (2007).


Hf-W chronometry provides constraints on the timing of planetary accretion and differentiation, as the segre- gation of a metal core from silicates should induce strong fractionation of Hf from W. In most previous studies, it was assumed that a giant impact would perfectly reset the Hf-W chronometer. Here, we show the difficulty of achieving perfect equilibration of the Hf-W system. Perfect equilibration requires iron to split into small droplets. However, since the sedimentation velocities of small droplets are low, the Rayleigh-Taylor instability between the upper metal-containing and lower metal-free layers results in quick overturning of the layers, unless iron droplets were uniformly distributed in the entire mantle. Therefore, the lower metal-free layers cannot be equilibrated. We calculated the isotopic evolution of the Hf-W system, taking into account the partial resetting of this chronometer. Our study led to three conclusions: (1) collision conditions and the number of giant impact events affect the age estimation of core formation, (2) the Earth’s W isotope ratio indicates that more than two-tenths of the volume of the protoearth’s mantle must have been equilibrated at each giant impact, and (3) Mars should have experienced a late, extensive equilibration event; it could have been a single giant impact.

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