Iron Fusion In Stars

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Atload

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[SOLVED] Iron Fusion In Stars

If iron is said to be the last stage of fusion in stars, how is it that heavier elements are found on earth, where there seems to be less likely a chance for such fusion to occur? Where do these elements come from? Moreover, the half-life of a heavy element on the order of plutonium is only 24,000 years--how did such an element wind up on earth in quantities that can be excavated? How is it that these elements were created?
 

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  • #2
Labguy
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Originally posted by Atload
If iron is said to be the last stage of fusion in stars, how is it that heavier elements are found on earth, where there seems to be less likely a chance for such fusion to occur? Where do these elements come from? Moreover, the half-life of a heavy element on the order of plutonium is only 24,000 years--how did such an element wind up on earth in quantities that can be excavated? How is it that these elements were created?
http://aether.lbl.gov/www/tour/elements/stellar/stellar_a.html

And:

http://photon.phys.clemson.edu/wwwpages/StarLife.html
 
  • #3
Janus
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Originally posted by Atload
Moreover, the half-life of a heavy element on the order of plutonium is only 24,000 years--how did such an element wind up on earth in quantities that can be excavated?
It doesn't. All the plutonium used in today's nuclear industries is bred by bombarding uranium with slow neutrons.
 
  • #4
Integral
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Naturally occuring elements heavier then Iron are a result of a star going Nova or other such energetic cosomologic events. The energies present in such an event create the heavier elements.
 
  • #5
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how did such an element wind up on earth in quantities that can be excavated?
The half life is a measure of the exponential decay of these elements. It is a record of how often they randomly decay, a matter of statistical probability than absolute. In two half lives, you have a quarter of the atoms still around. So, the element can last for a very long time with a relatively short half-life. Just significantly smaller numbers than originally.
 
  • #6
Phobos
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Originally posted by Integral
Naturally occuring elements heavier then Iron are a result of a star going Nova or other such energetic cosomologic events. The energies present in such an event create the heavier elements.
supernova...not nova
(different phenomena, but similar names)
 

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