Comparisons Of The Core And Mantle Compositions Of Earth Analogs From Different Terrestrial Planet Formation Scenarios

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
February 22, 2023
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Comparisons Of The Core And Mantle Compositions Of Earth Analogs From Different Terrestrial Planet Formation Scenarios
Properties of Earth’s accretion history from different N-body simulations and scenarios of Solar System formation. a) Accretion histories of Earth analogs where dashed vertical lines represent the average time at which Earth analogs from each scenario reach 90% of their final mass (t90). b) Distributions of initial embryo masses used as initial conditions in N-body simulations. The symbols on the figure represent initial conditions for only one simulation from each suite. c–f) Normalized histograms of impactor masses and g–j) impact velocities of embryo collisions onto Earth analogs. Impactor masses and impact velocities are binned in increments of 0.05 Earth masses and 0.1, respectively. Abbreviations are as follows: O06 (O’Brien et al., 2006), R09 (Raymond et al., 2009), KC15 (Kaib and Cowan, 2015), RI17 (Raymond and Izidoro, 2017a), and 0.025, 0.05, and 0.08 represent the initial embryo masses, in Earth masses, of Grand Tack simulations from Jacobson and Morbidelli (2014). — astro-ph.EP

The chemical compositions of Earth’s core and mantle provide insight into the processes that led to their formation. N-body simulations, on the other hand, generally do not contain chemical information, and seek to only reproduce the masses and orbits of the terrestrial planets.

These simulations can be grouped into four potentially viable scenarios of Solar System formation (Classical, Annulus, Grand Tack, and Early Instability) for which we compile a total of 433 N-body simulations. We relate the outputs of these simulations to the chemistry of Earth’s core and mantle using a melt-scaling law combined with a multi-stage model of core formation.

We find the compositions of Earth analogs to be largely governed by the fraction of equilibrating embryo cores and the initial embryo masses in N-body simulations. Simulation type may be important when considering magma ocean lifetimes, where Grand Tack simulations have the largest amounts of material accreted after the last giant impact.

However, we cannot rule out any accretion scenarios or initial embryo masses due to the sensitivity of Earth’s mantle composition to different parameters and the stochastic nature of N-body simulations. Comparing the last embryo impacts experienced by Earth analogs to specific Moon-forming scenarios, we find the characteristics of the Moon-forming impact are dependent on the initial conditions in N-body simulations where larger initial embryo masses promote larger and slower Moon-forming impactors. Mars-sized initial embryos are most consistent with the canonical hit-and-run scenario onto a solid mantle.

Our results suggest that constraining the fraction of equilibrating impactor core and the initial embryo masses in N-body simulations could be significant for understanding both Earth’s accretion history and characteristics of the Moon-forming impact.

Jesse T. Gu, Rebecca A. Fischer, Matthew C. Brennan, Matthew S. Clement, Seth A. Jacobson, Nathan A. Kaib, David P. O’Brien, Sean N. Raymond

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2302.11020 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2302.11020v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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From: Jesse Gu
[v1] Tue, 21 Feb 2023 21:33:59 UTC (2,322 KB)

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.