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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1980 Dec;77(12):6973-7.

Chemical composition of Earth, Venus, and Mercury.

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  • 1U.S. Geological Survey, National Center, Reston, Virginia 22092.


Model compositions of Earth, Venus, and Mercury are calculated from the premise that planets and chondrites underwent four identical fractionation processes in the solar nebula. Because elements of similar properties stay together in these processes, five constraints suffice to define the composition of a planet: mass of the core, abundance of U, and the ratios K/U, Tl/U, and FeO/(FeO + MgO). Complete abundance tables, and normative mineralogies, are given for all three planets. Review of available data shows only a few gross trends for the inner planets: FeO decreases with heliocentric distance, whereas volatiles are depleted and refractories are enriched in the smaller planets.

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