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Public Lecture: Recipes for Making the Earth

30 May 2019
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Geological Society Events, 2019 Year of Carbon
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The main ingredients usually invoked to make planets are primitive meteorites, the chondrites.  Although believed to be broadly representative of the solar disk from which planets grew, there are subtle differences in the compositions of different chondrite groups.  

An important question has therefore been, what quantities of the different chondrites are needed to make the Earth. It transpires that one answer is obtained by considering elemental compositions and another using their isotopic characteristics. 

Time argues that this dilemma is resolved if elemental abundances are modified by vapour loss as a natural consequence of the energetic process of collisional planetary accretion. So overall, a respectable Earth can be made from a starting composition of enstatite chondrite that has been wantonly over-cooked.  


Tim Elliott, University of Bristol

Tim Elliott is Professor in Isotope Geology at the School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol.  In his 20 years at Bristol he has helped establish a laboratory that specialises in exploiting the opportunities offered by inductively coupled plasma mass-spectrometry.  

He works on the evolution of the Earth and other planets, with a particular interest in the role of melting in shaping the composition of different planetary reservoirs. Prior to Bristol he benefited from the perspectives gained in an odyssey of positions at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam and Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory following an education in some of the flatter parts of England, with his PhD at the Open University (Milton Keynes) and undergraduate degree at Cambridge.

All past lectures can be viewed online on our Past Meeting Resources Page.

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