Scientists Produced Best Estimate of Earth’s Elemental Composition

The elemental abundances of the most Earth-like planet.

Scientists Produced Best Estimate of Earth’s Elemental Composition
Earth. Image: NASA/JPL

The Solar System is emerged due to the collision between a molecular cloud of hydrogen gas and dust under its own gravity. Thus, it started forming the early Sun, Earth and other planets. As a subject of fascination, scientists still discovering for how planets are actually built. Scientists are continuing to study planets in an effort to better understand our solar system.

Now, scientists at the Australian National University have studied Earth and generated the best estimate of Earth’s Elemental Composition. Through this study, they believe that they could properly understand how the Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago.

Dr. Lineweaver from the Research School of Earth Sciences said, “The four most abundant elements – iron, oxygen, silicon, and magnesium- make up more than 90 percent of the Earth’s mass, but working out exactly what the Earth is made of is tricky.”

“Seismological studies of earthquakes inform us about the Earth’s core, mantle, and crust, but it’s hard to convert this information into an Earth’s Elemental Composition.”

“Our deepest drilling has only scratched the surface down to 10 kilometers of our 6,400-kilometre radius planet. Rocks at the surface only come from as deep as the upper mantle.”

Scientists derived the data from a meta-analysis of previous estimates of the mantle and core, and a new estimate of the core’s mass. They mainly focused on getting realistic uncertainties so that their model can be used in future comparisons of the Earth with the Sun.

At first, scientists compiled, combined and renormalize a large set of heterogeneous literature values of the primitive mantle (PM) and of the core. They then integrated standard radial density profiles of the Earth and renormalize them to the current best estimate for the mass of the Earth.

Here, scientists mainly evaluated following uncertainties: 1. the density profiles, 2. the core-mantle boundary and 3. the inner core boundary. Later on, they used standard error propagation in order to get a core mass. They found that the uncertainties on elemental abundances calibrated the unresolved discrepancies between standard Earth models under various geochemical and geophysical assumptions.

Professor Trevor Ireland said, “This will have far-reaching importance, not only for planetary bodies in our Solar System but also other star systems in the universe.”