Friday, March 27, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Geologists puzzle out planet’s formation

By
March 1, 2011 |

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

The finding, 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 and co-author of the paper.

Using specialized equipment, Yin, and his colleagues made very exact measurements of chromium isotopes in meteorites and compared these to rocks from the Earth’s crust. With high-performance computers, they then used the data to generate a simulation of Earth’s early environment.

The team studied a class of meteorites called chondrites, which are leftovers from the formation of the solar system more than 4.5 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 (nonradioactive) isotopes with atomic masses of 50, 52, 53 and 54.

It has been known for decades that chromium is relatively underrepresented in the Earth’s mantle and crust, Yin said. That could either be because it evaporated into space, or got sucked into the 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 lighter isotopes of chromium preferentially go into the core.

From this the team inferred that some 65 percent of the missing chromium is most likely in the Earth’s core.

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

Yin’s co-authors are Frederic Moynier, a former postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis who is now assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences at

Washington University in St Louis, and Edwin Schauble of the UCLA department and Earth and space sciences.

The work was funded by grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation.

— UC Davis News Service

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Anti-gay initiative puts AG in a bind

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    County supervisors consider options for historic courthouse

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Two found dead of apparent shooting in West Davis home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    New Paso Fino design trims lots

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Woodland police warn of kidnapping phone scam

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Co-pilot may have hidden illness, German prosecutors say

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Senate’s Harry Reid announces he won’t seek re-election

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Lawyer disputes police’s hoax claim in California kidnapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    Empower Yolo offers peer counselor training

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sign up for Camp Shakespeare

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    State loosens sex offender residency restrictions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Neighbors invited to adopt Willow Creek Park

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Sing along on April Fool’s Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Three nabbed in counterfeiting probe

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A6

    .

    Forum

    Can he get life back on track?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Blame Reid for impasse

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

     
    Practice cancer prevention each day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Turnabout is fair play

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

     
    Be aware and be afraid

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

    .

    Sports

    UCD’s Hawkins, Harris to shoot at Final Four

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Home sweet home: Aggie women win a tennis match

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Devil boys grind out a net win at Franklin

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DHS baseballers fall to Vintage in eight innings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD men edge Hawaii on the court

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Recent youth softball games feature big hitting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Sacramento get its second straight win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Sharks get a key win over Detroit

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    UCD Student Fashion Association presents charity fashion show

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    ‘Get Hard’ comes across as rather limp

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Monticello announces April live-music shows

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Leonardo Tuchman’s work shows at UC Davis Craft Center Gallery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    Sacramento Youth Symphony holding open auditions

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    Preview Art Studio Tour participants’ work at The Artery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Smokey Brights to perform at Sophia’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    ‘Deserted Destinations’ is April exhibit at Gallery 625

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Camry Hybrid takes a step forward

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Celebrate Rusty Jordan’s Life

    By Creator | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, March 27, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B4