On Initial Aggregation/Ignition of Herndon's Earth Georeactor
Richard Brook Cathcart
Reconstructing the thermal history of the whole Earth has been a major challenge in geochemistry and geophysics (Scandolo and Jeanloz, 2003). The present-day terrestrial heat flux is ~44 TW, and most (~99%) seems to emanate from places surrounding the planet's core (Dehant et al., 2003); however, there is still a "hidden" source of heat – the inner core's heat production from a nugget georeactor first postulated by American nuclear geochemist J. Marvin Herndon.
Herndon was first to propose that Earth's innermost, 3–5-kilometer diameter nugget core is a georeactor (Herndon, 2003). During 1994, Herndon suggested Earth's georeactor formed during the planet's early history – actually before geological time commenced when the Earth was crust-less, without terrains or terranes – by the natural aggregation of the necessary nuclear fission elements almost solely under the action of gravity (Herndon, 1994).
I postulate that a georeactor may form under the influence of natural asteroid and meteor bombardment owing to the compression and shock wavess induced by such event-process; this supposed additional event-process is calculated to be supplementary to the whole planet's gravity.
It is proved that very large debris impacts on Earth's present-day crust cannot cause super-volcanic eruptions, and certainly cannot instigate mantle plume formation (Ivanov and Melosh, 2003). I noticed, however, that it is proved that "� displacement of solute in saturated porous media results from the propagation of compression waves" (Gross et al., 2003). It is worth noting that the acceleration due to gravity (~9.8 1 m/s2 at today's Earth-surface) becomes 10.7 m/s2 at the core-mantle interface.
Since the early Earth was undoubtedly bombarded by millions of tonnes of rocky space debris, and since such impacts of solid material would splashdown in a magma-covered Earth – that is, a planet not yet having a solid crust – then it seems to us that compression waves would move towards the planet's center of mass and would cause heavy particles of fissionable material to be propelled there too. Eventually, a georeactor would start up, producing heat! In other words, I postulate herein that bombardment is a driver and gravity-influenced settling is only supplementary, or complementary at most.
So, what are the assumed Earthly magma ocean properties? And, what is the sequence of event-processes leading eventually to accumulation and ignition of a Herndonean georeactor?
The primordial terrestrial magma ocean's composition has important implications for stratification of the mantle. Gigantic asteroid and comet impacts during Earth's aggregation probably induced the topmost part of the mantle to melt. Then, a partly melted mantle becomes a kind of crust – that is, a magma ocean entirely enshrouding the Earth. Next, nucleation/crystallization of particles (4 × 10-4 m) within the magma ocean occurs during a period of ~103 to 108 years. Typically, Earth's magma ocean might have had physical parameters such as these: (1) density = 4 × 103 kg m-3; (2) temperature = 4000 K; (3) gravity = 10m s-2; (4) Earth rotation period = < 3 days; (5) depth = 400 to 1500 kilometers; (6) average viscosity = 10-2 to 3 × 10-5 Pa s. The fluid dynamics of this segment of the newly forming planet Earth would be complex (Solomatov, 2000)!
Summarizing, sedimentation of a Herndon-postulated Earth georeactor seems even more likely considering only these two aggregation and ignition factors (bombardment and inherent gravity). I conclude that J. Marvin Herndon's georeactor may have commenced its heat production even before Earth's geological time started!
1. Dehant, V. et al., Earth's Core: Dynamics, Structure,
Rotation (AGU, Washington DC, 2003) 277 pages.
2. Gross, A. et al., "Application of Waves for Remediation of Contaminated Aquifers," Environmental Science & Technology 37: 4481-4486 (1 October 2003).
3. Herndon, J. M., "Planetary and protostellar nuclear fission: implications for planetary change, stellar ignition and dark matter," Proceedings Royal Society London A 445: 453-462 (1994).
4. Herndon, J. M., "Nuclear georeactor origin of oceanic basalt 3He/4He, evidence, and implications," Proceedings National Academy of Sciences 100: 3047-3050 (2003).
5. Ivanov, B. A. and H. J. Melosh, "Impacts do not initiate volcanic eruptions: Eruptions close to the crater," Geology 31: 869-872 (October 2003).
6. Scandolo, S. and R. Jeanloz, "The Centers of Planets," American Scientist 91: 516-525 (November-December 2003).
7. Solomatov, V. S., "Fluid Dynamics of a Terrestrial Magma Ocean," pp. 323-338 in R. M. Canup and K. Righter (Eds), Origin of the Earth and Moon (U Arizona Press, 2000) 555 pages.