Sources and Orbital Evolution of Interplanetary Dust Accreted by Earth

  • Stephen J. Kortenkamp
  • Stanley F. Dermott
  • Debra Fogle
  • Keith Grogan


We review observational and theoretical constraints on the relative contributions of asteroids and comets to interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) in the zodiacal cloud. The estimated contributions span a broad range but the most abundant unambiguous sources are asteroid families, the progenitors of the observed zodiacal dust bands. Other features of the zodiacal cloud indicate additional contributions from non-family asteroids and short-period comets. Numerical modeling of the orbital evolution of IDPs from all these sources reveals natural mechanisms which bias the terrestrial dust accretion rate heavily in favor of asteroidal IDPs, in particular, those originating in the Eos, Themis, and Koronis asteroid families. Over an extended time scale the accretion rate of IDPs from all asteroidal sources should vary by a factor of two to three and display a 100 kyr periodicity that is anti-correlated with Earth’s orbital eccentricity. Extraterrestrial 3He concentrations in deep-sea sediments have a similar periodicity but are 50 kyr out of phase with the predicted variations. Possible expla- nations of this 180° phase lag are discussed.


Dust Particle Orbital Evolution Asteroid Belt Interplanetary Dust Cometary Dust 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Kortenkamp
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stanley F. Dermott
    • 3
  • Debra Fogle
    • 3
  • Keith Grogan
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of AstronomyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Terrestrial MagnetismCarnegie Institution of WashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of AstronomyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  4. 4.Goddard Space Flight CenterNASAGreenbeltUSA

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