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The Early Earth: Accretion and Differentiation

The Early Earth: Accretion and Differentiation

James Badro (Editor), Michael J. Walter (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-86035-9 September 2015 American Geophysical Union 198 Pages


The Early Earth: Accretion and Differentiation provides a multidisciplinary overview of the state of the art in understanding the formation and primordial evolution of the Earth.  The fundamental structure of the Earth as we know it today was inherited from the initial conditions 4.56 billion years ago as a consequence of planetesimal accretion, large impacts among planetary objects, and planetary-scale differentiation. The evolution of the Earth from a molten ball of metal and magma to the tectonically active, dynamic, habitable planet that we know today is unique among the terrestrial planets, and understanding the earliest processes that led to Earth’s current state is the essence of this volume. Important results have emerged from a wide range of disciplines including cosmochemistry, geochemistry, experimental petrology, experimental and theoretical mineral physics and geodynamics.

The topics in this volume include:

  • Condensation of primitive objects in the solar nebula, planetary building blocks
  • Early and late accretion and planetary dynamic modeling
  • Primordial differentiation, core formation, Magma Ocean evolution and crystallization

This volume will be a valuable resource for graduate students, academics, and researchers in the fields of geophysics, geochemistry, cosmochemistry, and planetary science.




1. Timing of nebula processes which shaped the precursors of the terrestrial planets

Marc Chaussidon and Ming-Chang Liu

2. The Earth’s building blocks

Frédéric Moynier and Bruce Fegley, Jr.

3. Earth and Terrestrial Planet Formation

Seth A. Jacobson, Kevin J. Walsh

4. Late Accretion and the Late Veneer

Alessandro Morbidelli and Bernard J. Wood

5. Early differentiation and core formation: processes and timescales

Francis Nimmo and Thorsten Kleine

6. An experimental geochemistry perspective on Earth's core formation

Julien Siebert and Anat Shahar

7. Thermal state and evolution of the Earth core and deep mantle

Stéphane Labrosse, John W. Hernlund, and Kei Hirose

8. Early Differentiation and its Long Term Consequences for Earth Evolution

Richard W. Carlson, Maud Boyet, Jonathan O’Neil, Hanika Rizo and Richard J. Walker


"This book reviews our current understanding of the fundamental processes, which took a cloud of gas and dust in the solar nebula to the highly differentiated worl we know in a relatively short period of time (probably less than 100 million years, or about 2% of the age of the solar system)."

"The papers follow a standard scientific research style - clear, but terse and to the point with frequent use of acronyms, and an expectation of considerable subject matter knowledge from the reader."

William R. Green (05/09/2016)