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We consider a planar gravitating thick domain wall of the $\lambda \phi^4$ theory as a spacetime with finite thickness glued to two vacuum spacetimes on each side of it. Darmois junction conditions written on the boundaries of the thick wall with the embedding spacetimes reproduce the Israel junction condition across the wall in the limit of infinitesimal thickness. The thick planar domain wall located at a fixed position is then transformed to a new coordinate system in which its dynamics can be formulated. It is shown that the wall's core expands as if it were a thin wall. The thickness in the new coordinates is not constant anymore and its time dependence is given.
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