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EarthA Tenant's Manual$
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Frank H. T. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801478239

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801478239.001.0001

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The Uninhabitable Planet

The Uninhabitable Planet

(p.129) Chapter 11 The Uninhabitable Planet

Frank H. T. Rhodes

Cornell University Press

This chapter details the formation of the early, Hadean-era Earth into the present Earth. The Hadean Era, named after the Greek word Hades, occurred some 3.7–4.6 billion years ago, and true to its name, the chapter likens this early Earth to an inferno: very hot, blistered with volcanoes, buffeted by impacting meteorites, subject to mighty upheaval from internal forces of change. The early Earth was more homogenous than the layered Earth we recognize today, and it was lifeless and outright uninhabitable, with none of the features that sustain life in the present Earth. The chapter shows how a slow process of gravity settling and differentiation for over 100 million years would transform this early, inhospitable Earth into the one we live in today.

Keywords:   Hadean Era, early Earth, gravitational settling, planetary differentiation, living Earth

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