Earth and Terrestrial Planet Formation

Seth A. Jacobson*, Kevin J. Walsh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


The growth and composition of Earth is a direct consequence of planet formation throughout the Solar System. We discuss the known history of the Solar System, the proposed stages of growth, and how the early stages of planet formation may be dominated by pebble growth processes. Pebbles are small bodies whose strong interactions with the nebular gas lead to remarkable new accretion mechanisms for the formation of planetesimals and the growth of planetary embryos. Many of the popular models for the later stages of planet formation are presented. The classical models with the giant planets on fixed orbits are not consistent with the known history of the Solar System, fail to create a high Earth-to-Mars mass ratio, and, in many cases, are also internally inconsistent. The successful Grand Tack model creates a small Mars, a wet Earth, a realistic asteroid belt, and the mass-orbit structure of the terrestrial planets. In the Grand Tack scenario, growth curves for Earth most closely match a Weibull model. The feeding zones, which determine the compositions of Earth and Venus, follow a particular pattern determined by Jupiter, while the feeding zones of Mars and Theia, the last giant impactor on Earth, appear to randomly sample the terrestrial disk. The late accreted mass samples the disk nearly evenly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Early Earth
Subtitle of host publicationAccretion and Differentiation
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781118860359
ISBN (Print)9781118860571
StatePublished - Sep 19 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Earth and Terrestrial Planet Formation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this