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Niobium may be sequestered into the cores of some asteroids rather than remaining in their mantles according to measurements of meteorites and partitioning experiments. Accretion of such asteroids may explain why Earth’s mantle is depleted in niobium.
Chloromethane (CH3Cl) has been observed towards a low-mass protostar and comet 67P, making it the first organohalogen detected in space. The species was previously considered to be a biomarker, but the authors suggest viable alternative abiotic formation routes.
The measurement of magnesium isotope ratios at improved accuracy suggests that planetary compositions result from fractionation between liquid and vapour, followed by vapour escape during accretionary growth.
The pattern of volatile element depletion in the silicate Earth suggests that melting and vaporization on precursor bodies and during accretion were responsible for the volatile element contents of Earth.
Impacts could have driven transient subduction events on the Hadean Earth, according to numerical simulations. The scenario reconciles evidence for tectonic activity with that for an otherwise tectonically stagnant early Earth.
The twin isotopic signatures of the Moon and Earth are difficult to explain by a single giant impact. Impact simulations suggest that making the Moon by a combination of multiple, smaller moonlet-forming impacts may work better.
There is potential evidence for a stratified layer at the top of the Earth's core, but its origin is not well understood. Laboratory experiments suggest that the stratified layer could be a sunken remnant of the giant impact that formed the Moon.