The earth formed much faster than previously thought, The forerunner of our planet, Proto-Earth, which has been formed for around five million years, shows new research by the StarPlan Center at the Globe Institute at the University of Copenhagen.
This is very fast at the astronomical level, the researchers explain.
If you compare the existence of the solar system around 4.6 billion years with a 24 hour period, the new results show that proto-earth formed in about one and a half minutes.
Thus, StarPlan’s results break with the traditional theory that proto-earth is formed by accidental collisions between planetary objects that have been getting bigger over several tens of millions of years, which corresponds to about 5 to 15 minutes of the 24-hour formation above. The earth formed much faster than previously thought.
Instead, the new results support new alternative theories about planet formation through the accumulation of cosmic dust.
Another idea is that we usually start with dust. Millimeter-sized objects are collected, falling on the growing body and making the planet available.
The key to this new finding is the most accurate measurement of iron isotopes published to date.
When examining isotopic mixtures of metal elements in various meteorites, the researchers found only one type of meteorite material with an earth-like composition: called CI chondrites.
The researchers behind this study described the dust on this fragile meteorite as our best equivalent to the mass composition of the solar system.
Dust like gas combined flows through a circular accretion disk to the rising sun.
This process takes about five million years and our planets are made from the material in this disc.
Now researchers estimate that an iron core from proto-earth also formed during this time, which removes the initial accumulated iron from the mantle.
Other meteorites like Mars tell us that the composition of iron isotopes from materials that contributed to the growth of the earth was initially different.
Perhaps because of the heat treatment of dust near the young sun, StarPlan researchers explain.
After the first hundred thousand years of our solar system, it becomes cold enough for untreated CI dust to penetrate further into the system and into the proto-earth growth sphere.
“This adds CI powder and reprint the composition of iron in the Earth’s mantle, which is only possible if most of the iron has been previously removed from the core.
“If the formation of the earth was a random process where you just hit the body, you would never be able to compare the composition of the earth’s iron with only one type of meteorite. The earth formed much faster than previously thought.
Based on evidence supporting the theory that planets are formed by the accumulation of cosmic dust, the researchers believe that the same process can occur elsewhere in the universe.
This means that other planets tend to form more quickly than if they only grew through accidental collisions between objects in space.
We now know that planet formation happens everywhere. That we have a common mechanism that works and shapes planetary systems.
If we understand this mechanism in our solar system, we can draw similar conclusions for other planetary systems in the galaxy. If the initial planetary accumulation theory was true, water might just be a by-product of planets like Earth, making the components of life as we know it more likely to be found elsewhere in the universe. The earth formed much faster than previously thought.