The early Earth was bombarded by the material that is deposited all the way to the core or splashed out, that the planet to get more hits to deposit some of the elements present in the mantle.
(Southwest Research Institute)
The earth can be crushed by the impact of more than one moon-size object, early in its life.
New simulations suggest that much of the material that crashed into our young planet could be swallowed up by the Earth’s core, or ricocheted back into space, more collisions to leave the elemental signatures scientists can see in the crust of today.
The young solar system was a violent place. Planetesimals, solid objects that are not completely manage to grow into planets, wound up destroying themselves if they are in collision with other objects during a period known as the late recruits. This collision left traces of highly siderophile elements — metals have an affinity for iron, such as gold, platinum, and iridium within our planet’s mantle. [How the Moon Formed: 5 Wild Theories]
By measuring how much of these metals were mixed in the mantle, scientists estimate that about one-half of one percent of the Earth mass came from colliding planetesimals. But these estimates it is assumed that the mantle is held on all of the highly siderophile elements.
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New simulations suggest that, instead, a part of the material might have taken place in the direction of the nucleus, where it may be mixed or would be thrown out of the system completely. Both results would have reduced the amount of metal that would have mixed in the mantle. That means that the Earth could have absorbed two to five times as much impact as previously thought.
“We modeled the huge collisions and how metals and silicates were integrated into the Earth during this late growth phase,’ which lasted for hundreds of millions of years after the Moon formed,” Simone Marchi, a researcher at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Colorado, and lead author of a Nature Geoscience paper detailing these results, said in a statement. Marchi worked with Robin Canup, also of SwRI, and Richard Walker, a geologist at the University of Maryland.
“On the basis of our simulations, the late-accretion mass delivered to Earth may be considerably larger than previously thought, with important implications for the earliest evolution of our planet,” Marchi said.
Originally published on Space.com.