• Determining the possible building blocks of Earth and Mars

      Burbine, T. H.; O'Brien, K. M. (The Meteoritical Society, 2004-01-01)
      To determine the possible building blocks of the Earth and Mars, 225,792,840 possible combinations of the bulk oxygen isotopic and chemical compositions of 13 chondritic groups at 5% mass increments were examined. Only a very small percentage of the combinations match the oxygen isotopic composition, the assumed bulk FeO concentration, and the assumed Fe/Al weight ratio for the Earth. Since chondrites are enriched in silicon relative to estimates of the bulk Earth, none of the combinations fall near the terrestrial magmatic fractionation trend line in Mg/Si-Al/Si space. More combinations match the oxygen isotopic composition and the assumed bulk FeO concentration for Mars. These combinations fall near the trend for shergottite meteorites in Mg/Si-Al/Si space. One explanation for the difficulty in forming Earth out of known chondrites is that the Earth may be composed predominately of material that did not survive to the present day as meteorites. Another explanation could be that significant amounts of silicon are sequestered in the core and/or lower mantle of the Earth.