THERMAL EVOLUTION OF EARHT’S CORE DURING ACCRETION: A PRELIMINARY SOLID INNER CORE AT THE END OF ACCRFETION.
Wednesday, 16 December 2015: 14:25
2007 (Moscone West)
Growth of an inner core has conventionally been related to core cooling blow the liquidus of iron. It is however possible that the core of the proto-Earth solidifies upon pressure increase during accretion. The lithostatic pressure in the proto-Earth increases immediately after merging each impactor, and the pressure-dependent liquidus of iron may supersede the temperature near the center resulting in a solid inner core. Assuming that Earth is formed by accreting a few dozen Moon to Mars size planetary embryos, the thermal evolution of the proto-Earth’s core is investigated during accretion. The collision of an embryo heats the Earth differentially and the rotating low-viscosity, differentially heated core stratifies, creating a spherically symmetric stable and radially increasing temperature distribution. Convection occurs in the outer core while heat transfers by conduction in deeper parts. It is assumed that the iron core of an embryo pools at the bottom of partially molten mantle and thermally equilibrates with surroundings. It then descends as an iron diapir in the solid silicate mantle, while releasing its gravitational energy. Depending on its temperature when arrives at the core mantle boundary, it may spread on the core creating a hot layer or plunge into the core and descend to a neutrally buoyant level while further releasing its gravitational energy. A few dozen thermal evolution models of the core are investigates to examine effects of major parameters such as: total number of impacting embryos; partitioning of the gravitational energy released during the descent of the diaper in the mantle (between the silicate mantle and the iron diaper), and in the core (between the proto-Earth’s core and that of the embryo); and gravitational energy and latent heat released due to the core solidification. All of the models predict a large solid inner core, about 1500 to 2000 km in radius, at the end of accretion.