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Journal Articles Nature Year : 2016

Erratum: Corrigendum: An early geodynamo driven by exsolution of mantle components from Earth’s core

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Abstract

Terrestrial core formation occurred in the early molten Earth by gravitational segregation of immiscible metal and silicate melts, stripping iron-loving elements from the silicate mantle to the metallic core1–3, and leaving rock-loving components behind. Here we performed experiments showing that at high enough temperature, Earth’s major rock-loving component, magnesium oxide, can also dissolve in core-forming metallic melts. Our data clearly point to a dissolution reaction, and are in agreement with recent DFT calculations4. Using core formation models5, we further show that a high-temperature event during Earth’s accretion (such as the Moon-forming giant impact6) can contribute significant amounts of magnesium to the early core. As it subsequently cools, the ensuing exsolution7 of buoyant magnesium oxide generates a substantial amount of gravitational energy. This energy is comparable to if not significantly higher than that produced by inner core solidification8 — the primary driver of the Earth’s current magnetic field9–11. Since the inner core is too young12 to explain the existence of an ancient field prior to ~1 billion years, our results solve the conundrum posed by the recent paleomagnetic observation13 of an ancient field at least 3.45 Gyr old

Dates and versions

insu-02911703 , version 1 (04-08-2020)

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James Badro, Julien Siebert, Francis Nimmo. Erratum: Corrigendum: An early geodynamo driven by exsolution of mantle components from Earth’s core. Nature, 2016, 539 (7629), pp.456-456. ⟨10.1038/nature19808⟩. ⟨insu-02911703⟩
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