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Earth’s Origin: Shattering Previous Beliefs

Earth’s Origin: Shattering Previous BeliefsA new study led by Western University's all-star cosmochemist Audrey Bouvier proves that the Earth and other planetary objects formed in the early years of the Solar System share similar chemical origins – a finding at odds with accepted wisdom held by scientists for decades.

Bouvier, the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Planetary Materials and an Isotope Cosmochemistry professor in Western's Department of Earth Sciences, made the game-changing discovery in collaboration with Maud Boyet from the renowned Magmas and Volcanoes Laboratory at Blaise Pascal University in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

With data uncovered through thermal ionization mass spectrometry, Bouvier and Boyet demonstrated that the Earth and other extraterrestrial objects share the same initial levels of Neodymium-142 (142Nd) – one of seven isotopes found in the chemical element neodymium – which is widely distributed in the Earth's crust and most commonly used for magnets in commercial products like microphones and in-ear headphones.

In 2005, a small variation in 142Nd was detected between chondrites, which are stony meteorites considered essential building blocks of the Earth, and terrestrial rocks. These results were widely interpreted as an early differentiation of the interior of the Earth (including the crust and mantle) and these chondrites within the first 30 million years of its history.

A new study led by Western University's all-star cosmochemist Audrey Bouvier proves that the Earth and other planetary objects formed in the early years of the Solar System share similar chemical origins – a finding at odds with accepted wisdom held by scientists for decades.

The findings were published today by the high-impact journal Nature.

Bouvier, the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Planetary Materials and an Isotope Cosmochemistry professor in Western's Department of Earth Sciences, made the game-changing discovery in collaboration with Maud Boyet from the renowned Magmas and Volcanoes Laboratory at Blaise Pascal University in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

With data uncovered through thermal ionization mass spectrometry, Bouvier and Boyet demonstrated that the Earth and other extraterrestrial objects share the same initial levels of Neodymium-142 (142Nd) – one of seven isotopes found in the chemical element neodymium – which is widely distributed in the Earth's crust and most commonly used for magnets in commercial products like microphones and in-ear headphones.

In 2005, a small variation in 142Nd was detected between chondrites, which are stony meteorites considered essential building blocks of the Earth, and terrestrial rocks. These results were widely interpreted as an early differentiation of the interior of the Earth (including the crust and mantle) and these chondrites within the first 30 million years of its history.




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