Earth's core has produced a global magnetic field for at least the last 3.5 Gyrs, presently sustained by inner core (IC) growth. Models of the core with high thermal conductivity suggest potentially insufficient power available for the geodynamo prior to IC formation ∼1 Ga. Precipitation of silicon from the liquid core might offer an alternative power source for the ancient magnetic field, although few estimates of the silicon partition coefficient exist for conditions of the early core. We present the first ab initio determination of the silicon partition coefficient at core-mantle boundary conditions and use these results to confirm a thermodynamic description of partitioning that is integrated into a model of coupled core-mantle thermal evolution. We show that models including precipitation of silicon can satisfy constraints of IC size, mantle convective heat flux, mantle temperature and a persistent ancient geodynamo, and favor an oxygen poor initial core composition.

Powering Earth's Ancient Dynamo With Silicon Precipitation

Alfe Dario;
2022

Abstract

Earth's core has produced a global magnetic field for at least the last 3.5 Gyrs, presently sustained by inner core (IC) growth. Models of the core with high thermal conductivity suggest potentially insufficient power available for the geodynamo prior to IC formation ∼1 Ga. Precipitation of silicon from the liquid core might offer an alternative power source for the ancient magnetic field, although few estimates of the silicon partition coefficient exist for conditions of the early core. We present the first ab initio determination of the silicon partition coefficient at core-mantle boundary conditions and use these results to confirm a thermodynamic description of partitioning that is integrated into a model of coupled core-mantle thermal evolution. We show that models including precipitation of silicon can satisfy constraints of IC size, mantle convective heat flux, mantle temperature and a persistent ancient geodynamo, and favor an oxygen poor initial core composition.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/900902
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