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The energy budget and figure of Earth during recovery from the Moon-forming giant impact

Lock, Simon J. and Stewart, Sarah T. and Ćuk, Matija (2020) The energy budget and figure of Earth during recovery from the Moon-forming giant impact. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 530 . Art. No. 115885. ISSN 0012-821X.

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Quantifying the energy budget of Earth in the first few million years following the Moon-forming giant impact is vital to understanding Earth's initial thermal state and the dynamics of lunar tidal evolution. After the impact, the body was substantially vaporized and rotating rapidly, very different from the planet we know today. The subsequent evolution of Earth's energy budget, as the body cooled and angular momentum was transferred during lunar tidal recession, has not been accurately calculated with all relevant energy components included. Here, we use giant impact simulations and planetary structure models to calculate the energy budget at stages in Earth's evolution. We show that the figure and internal structure of Earth changed substantially during its post-impact evolution and that changes in kinetic, potential, and internal energy were all significant. These changes have important implications for the dynamics of tidal recession and the thermal structure of early Earth.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemCode
Lock, Simon J.0000-0001-5365-9616
Additional Information:© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Received 19 September 2018, Revised 15 August 2019, Accepted 1 October 2019, Available online 23 October 2019. We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers and the editor for comments that improved the clarity of this manuscript. This work was supported by NESSF grant NNX13AO67H (SJL), NASA grant NNX15AH54G (STS), DOE-NNSA grant DE-NA0002937 (STS), and NASA grant NNX15AH65G (MC). SJL also gratefully acknowledges support from Harvard University's Earth and Planetary Sciences Department and Caltech's Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper and/or the Supplementary Materials. The modified version of GADGET-2 and the EOS tables are contained in the supplement of Ćuk and Stewart (2012). The HERCULES code is included in the supporting information of Lock and Stewart (2017) and is available through the GitHub repositry:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Earth and Space Science FellowshipNNX13AO67H
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-NA0002937
Harvard UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary SciencesUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:energy; figure; impact; Moon; tides
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191014-074956093
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Simon J. Lock, Sarah T. Stewart, Matija Ćuk, The energy budget and figure of Earth during recovery from the Moon-forming giant impact, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 530, 2020, 115885, ISSN 0012-821X, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:99243
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 Oct 2019 15:10
Last Modified:17 Dec 2019 18:58

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