Sunday, October 19, 2014
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

.

News

$18.75M grant aims to build global food security

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Return to sender: MRAP removal options go to council

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Housing First pilot project targets West Sac homeless

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

Howzat! Cricket tradition grows in Davis

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Hawaii hit by winds, rain as hurricane veers west

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Evidentiary hearing set for man shot by CHP

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Cop witnesses car-pedestrian collision

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Safe viewing of solar eclipse planned

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Fill the Boot for the hungry

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Crash victim ID’d as Woodland man

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

 
Guns to be discharged at police range

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Donate used books at Co-op

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Love-life tips on ‘Heart to Heart’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Wolk sets ‘Morning with the Mayor’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Volunteers sought to chip in on parks cleanup

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

DHS ski and snowboard swap set on Nov. 9

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Quiz Master Gardeners at open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Firefighters on the town

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A3

Senior Computer Club hears from county official

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Celebrate origami at Davis library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Esparto home targeted in three-city pot bust

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

 
Apply by Friday for Biberstein grants

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Wolk earns perfect score from senior advocates

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

UCD celebrates 50 years of global agricultural success

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

 
Special education information night scheduled

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Be on the lookout for tagged Monarch butterflies

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A16 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Old news disturbs the present

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Are we there yet? Yik Yakking the day away

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A8

Take time to reach out for help

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

 
A bionic hand with feeling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Ain’t Snow Mountain high enough

By Our View | From Page: A14

 
Proposed lights harm kids

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

Teach cyclists to obey laws

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

 
Let’s take Davis’ energy future seriously

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

Be careful cycling on Fifth

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

 
Water theater isn’t fun

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

Elect Granda to board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

 
Yes on Prop. 47: reasonable changes to curb recidivism, save money

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

No on Prop. 47: an end to safe neighborhoods, and more victims

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

 
.

Sports

Vargas emerges from crowded Aggie WR corps

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Competitive Aggies fall at No. 6/7 Montana

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils stick it to Chico, cancer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

JV Devils fall to Franklin

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
Niemi leads Sharks to win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

UCD roundup: Big crowd sees Aggies nip Guachos

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

 
Davis is a temple for fine beverages

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Arcadia Biosciences earns spot on global innovation list

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
35 employers will be at West Sac job fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Rob White: Building an economy on innovation

By Rob White | From Page: A6

 
.

Obituaries

Peggy Belenis Swisher

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Sadie Louise Barga

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Morgan Wheeler

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, October 19, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8