Caltech Logo

Geology Club Seminar

Thursday, May 23, 2019
4:00pm to 5:00pm
Add to Cal
Arms 151 (Buwalda Room)
Exploring the systematics of Earth's core formation using lithophile elements
Bethany Chidester, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California Davis,

The compositions of Earth's core and mantle were set during metal–silicate equilibration as the planet grew and differentiated. While the conditions of this process are yet to be fully understood, experiments that simulate core formation are imperative for our understanding of the dynamics of the planet. We completed metal–silicate partitioning experiments on major, minor, and trace lithophile elements (Mg, Al, Ca, Si, S, O, U, Th, K) to 85 GPa and 5400 K to parameterize their respective partitioning as a function of pressure, temperature, oxygen fugacity, and chemical composition. We utilized a Monte Carlo approach to robustly account for all experimental and analytical uncertainties in our parameterization. This parameterization is then used in planetary growth models to infer the respective compositions of Earth's core and mantle, which collectively can be used to better understand the energy budget of Earth's core and constrain the possible conditions of core–mantle equilibration during planetary growth.