, Volume 98, Issue 1-4, pp 97-151
Date: 04 Oct 2006

4. Building of a Habitable Planet

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Except the old Jack Hills zircon crystals, it does not exit direct record of the first 500 Ma of the Earth history. Consequently, the succession of events that took place during this period is only indirectly known through geochemistry, comparison with other telluric planets, and numerical modelling. Just after planetary accretion several episodes were necessary in order to make life apparition and development possible and to make the Earth surface habitable. Among these stages are: the core differentiation, the formation of a magma ocean, the apparition of the first atmosphere, oceans and continents as well as the development of magnetic field and of plate tectonics. In the same time, Earth has been subject to extraterrestrial events such as the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) between 3.95 and 3.8 Ga. Since 4.4–4.3 Ga, the conditions for pre-biotic chemistry and appearance of life were already met (liquid water, continental crust, no strong meteoritic bombardment, etc...). This does not mean that life existed as early, but this demonstrates that all necessary conditions assumed for life development were already present on Earth.