Planetary Core Formation

Core formation represents a very early, large scale, internal differentiation process that is effectively irreversible and sequesters huge budgets of metal and sulphur loving elements from the silicate Earth. Model processes for core growth include: melt percolation, diapirism and core-core merging during giant impacts. Due to the striking differences between bonding in metals and bonding in silicates, isotope fractionation can occur during core formation. Core forming processes can therefore be investigated isotopically using metal- & sulphur-loving elements with differing degrees of tendency to ender the core: e.g. vanadium, chromium, nickel, molybdenum, ruthenium & tungsten.