Cold accretion theory
- William K. Hartmann
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Cold accretion theory is a term that can be used to distinguish modern theories of planet growth from earlier theories. The mechanics of modern cold accretion are reviewed in the article Accretion.
Earlier theories visualized planets as forming out of hot blobs of solar plasma, or large, gravitationally unstable ‘protoplanet’ clouds which were relatively large segments of the solar nebula at any given solar distance. The planets were generally visualized as forming either from very hot matter, or (at least) forming in a molten state because of the high temperatures reached during gravitational collapse.
However, Urey (1952) and Shmidt (1958) theorized that the planets formed from innumerable small, solid (i.e. ‘cold’) bodies. Urey used the argument that planets are extremely deficient in inert gases. This means they could not have formed by gravitational contraction of solar or nebular clouds because those would have contained solar abundances of inert gases, since such ga ...
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- Hartmann, W. K. (1978) Planet formation: mechanism of early growth. Icarus 24: pp. 504
- Safronov, V. S. (1972) Evolution of the Protoplanetary Cloud and Formation of the Earth and the Planets. Jerusalem: Israel Program for Scientific Translations.
- Shmidt, O. (1958) A theory on the origin of the Earth. Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow
- Urey, H. C. (1952) The Planets: Their Origin and Development. Yale University Press, New Haven
- Wetherill, G. W. (1976) The role of large bodies in the formation of the earth and moon. Proc. Lunar Sci. Conf., 7, p. 3245.
- Wetherill, G. W. (1990) Formation of the Earth. Ann. Rev. Earth Plane. Sci. 18: pp. 205
- Accretion; Earth—Moon system: origin; Moon: origin; Solar system: origin
- Cold accretion theory
- Reference Work Title
- Encyclopedia of Planetary Science
- Reference Work Part
- pp 113-114
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- Online ISBN
- Series Title
- Encyclopedia of Earth Science
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- Springer Netherlands
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- Chapman & Hall
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