A new study differs in the prevailing hypothesis as to why Mercury has a significant core relative to its mantle. Scientists believed for decades during the formation of our solar system that hit and run collisions with other bodies wiped out much of Mercury’s rocky mantle and left the large, dense metal core inside. But according to new research, collisions aren’t responsible, but the sun’s magnetism is.
Takashi Yoshizaki of Tohoku University and William McDonough, professor of geology at the University of Maryland, developed a model and this model shows that the mass, density, distance from the sun’s magnetic field affect the iron content of a planet’s core. rocky. On July 2, 2021, the article describing the model was published in the journal Progress in Earth and Planetary Science.
According to McDonough, “The four inner planets of our solar system – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – are made up of different proportions of metal and rock. A gradient in which the metal content in the core decreases as the planets move away from the Our article explains how this happened by showing that the distribution of raw materials in the early forming solar system was controlled by the sun’s magnetic field. “
According to McDonough’s new model, during the early formation of the solar system, when the young sun was surrounded by a swirling cloud of gas and dust, the iron grains were drawn towards the center by the solar magnetic field. When the planet started forming from clumps of that gas and dust, the planets closest to the sun include more iron in their cores than those further away.
The researcher found that the proportion and density of iron in the core of a rocky planet during planetary formation relates to the strength of the magnetic field around the sun. The new study suggests that to describe the composition of rocky planets, magnetism should be considered in future attempts. For the potential support of life, the composition of a planet’s core is essential. McDonough determined, using existing models of planetary formation, the rate at which dust and gas were drawn to the center of the solar system during its formation.