Neon In Earth’s Mantle Gives New Details On Our Planet’s Formation

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Mostly found glassy rocks on the ocean floor, neon isotopes might reveal new information on how the Earth’s formed. Our planet’s formation process came to an end about 4.5 billion years ago, and now, scientists think that the neon in Earth’s mantle sheds more light on the planetary formation, in general.

After studying deep-ocean neon, the researchers said that’s the closest we can get to Earth’s mantle, and also indicated that our planet formed quickly from the gases and dust particles surrounding the Sun.

“We’re trying to understand where and how the neon in Earth’s mantle was acquired, which tells us how fast the planet formed and in what conditions,” said Curtis Williams from the University of California, Davis.

Neon is not changing due to chemical and biological processes, so it “keeps a memory of where it came from even after four and a half billion years,” said Professor Sujoy Mukhopadhyay, also from the University of California, Davis.

Neon In Earth’s Mantle Gives New Details On Our Planet’s Formation

In their research, the scientists chose to analyze neon isotopes that got trapped in the Earth’s mantle after our planet formed about 4.5 billion years ago. Neon-21 is the only isotope that significantly changes over time because the radioactive decay of uranium produces it.

By analyzing the neon gas found in the bubbles within pillow basalts of the ocean floor, the researchers tried to estimate the ratios of the solar nebula model which says that the Solar System is formed from the nebulous material. According to the results of the study, the proportions do not reflect those of the “‘irradiated particles” of the “late accretion” planetary formation model.

“There are a couple of ways dust could be depleted from the disk, and one of them is that they are forming planets,” said Curtis Williams

“We can observe planet formation in a gas disk in other solar systems, and there is a similar record of our own solar system preserved in Earth’s interior. That might be a common way for planets form elsewhere,” also added Sujoy Mukhopadhyay.