Earth, Moon, and Planets

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 85–97 | Cite as

Chemical composition of the Earth after the giant impact

  • Lin-Gun Liu


The giant impact hypothesis for the origin of the Moon has been widely accepted. One of the most important features of this hypothesis is that the impactor's metallic core was incorporated in the Earth after impact. If the mass of the impactor is 0.82 × 1027 g, the mass of the impactor core was estimated to be 0.19 × 1027 g, which is about 1/10 of present Earth's core. Liu (1982) derived the bulk composition of the Earth from CI chondrites, and concluded that the Fe content of his model appears to be low in comparison with the present Earth, which, however, can be rationalized by the addition of impactor core into the proto-Earth developed by Liu (1982). If the impactor's mantle contains 14 wt% FeO as suggested, the mass ratio of impactor/proto-Earth should not exceed 0.22. The same ratio is not likely to exceed 0.30, if a giant blowoff did not occur during impact.


Bulk Composition Metallic Core Giant Impact Impact Hypothesis Giant Impact Hypothesis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anders, E.: 1977, ‘Chemical Composition of the Moon, Earth and Eucrite Parent Body’, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. London A285, 23–40.Google Scholar
  2. Benz, W., Slattery, W. L. and Cameron, A. G. W.: 1986, ‘The Origin of the Moon and the Single-Impact Hypothesis I’, Icarus 66, 515–535.Google Scholar
  3. Benz, W., Slattery, W. L. and Cameron, A. G. W.: 1987, ‘The Origin of the Moon and the Single-Impact Hypothesis II’, Icarus 71, 30–45.Google Scholar
  4. Benz, W., Cameron, A. G. W. and Melosh, H. J.: 1988, ‘The Origin of the Moon: Further Studies of the Giant Impact’, Lunar Planet. Sci. 19, 61–62.Google Scholar
  5. Birch, F.: 1961, ‘Composition of the Earth's Mantle’, Geophys. J. 4, 295–311.Google Scholar
  6. Cameron, A. G. W. and Ward, W. R.: 1976, ‘The Origin of the Moon’, Lunar Sci. 7, 120–122.Google Scholar
  7. Cameron, A. G. W. and Benz, W.: 1991, ‘The Origin of the Moon and the Single Impact Hypothesis IV’, Icarus 92, 204–216.Google Scholar
  8. Hartmann, W. K. and Davis, D. R.: 1975, ‘Satellite-Sized Planetesimals and Lunar Origin’, Icarus 24, 504–515.Google Scholar
  9. Hartmann, W. K.: 1986, Moon Origin: the Impact-Trigger Hypothesis, in W. K. Hartmann, R. J. Phillips and G. J. Taylor (eds.), Origin of the Moon, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, pp. 579–608.Google Scholar
  10. Newsom, H. E. and Taylor, S. R.: 1989, ‘Geochemical Implications of the Formation of the Moon by a Single Giant Impact’, Nature 338, 29–34.Google Scholar
  11. Liu, L.: 1979, ‘On the 650-km Seismic Discontinuity’, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 42, 202–208.Google Scholar
  12. Liu, L.: 1982, ‘Speculations on the Composition and Origin of the Earth’, Geochem. J. 16, 287–310.Google Scholar
  13. Ringwood, A. E.: 1979, Origin of the Earth and Moon, Springer-Verlag, N. Y., 295 pp.Google Scholar
  14. Smith, J. V.: 1979, ‘Mineralogy of the Planets: a Voyage in Space and Time’, Mineral. Mag. 43, 1–89.Google Scholar
  15. Wanke, H.: 1981, ‘Constitution of Terrestrial Planets’, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. A303, 287–302.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lin-Gun Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations