Deep Time: How did the early Earth become our modern world?

Coordinators: Marc Hirschmann, Bruce Buffett, Sujoy Mukhopadhyay, Barbara Romanowicz

Many processes key to the birth of the modern Earth occurred early in our planet's history. The violent events of accretion determined the composition of the planet as well as its initial thermal state. The conditions of core formation determined its composition and consequently the dynamics of thermo-chemical convection in the modern outer core. Giant impacts profoundly altered Earth's chemical and physical state and created the Moon. Convection in the early mantle led eventually to plate tectonics. Widespread melting of the planet created Earth's earliest crust and was accompanied by massive degassing that lead eventually to Earth's unique atmosphere and equable climate.

The last 10 years have seen an explosion of new data and new models pertaining to the early Earth, catalyzed by advances in disciplines ranging from geophysics, geochemistry, planetary and atmospheric sciences, to geobiology. The aim of the 2012 CIDER Summer Program is to foster communication between disciplines to address key questions about the early Earth.