Magma oceans in the inner solar system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

170 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Theory and observations point to the occurrence of magma ponds or oceans in the early evolution of terrestrial planets and in many early-accreting planetesimals. The apparent ubiquity of melting during giant accretionary impacts suggests that silicate and metallic material may be processed through multiple magma oceans before reaching solidity in a planet. The processes of magma ocean formation and solidification, therefore, strongly influence the earliest compositional differentiation and volatile content of the terrestrial planets, and they form the starting point for cooling to clement, habitable conditions and for the onset of thermally driven mantle convection and plate tectonics. This review focuses on evidence for magma oceans on planetesimals and planets and on research concerning the processes of compositional differentiation in the silicate magma ocean, distribution and degassing of volatiles, and cooling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-139
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Volume40
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

solar system
magma
oceans
planet
ocean
terrestrial planets
protoplanets
planetesimal
planets
silicates
silicate
cooling
plates (tectonics)
mantle convection
degassing
solidification
plate tectonics
tectonics
Earth mantle
convection

Keywords

  • Accretion
  • Atmospheric degassing
  • Crust formation
  • Differentiation
  • Planetesimal
  • Volatile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Magma oceans in the inner solar system. / Elkins-Tanton, Linda.

In: Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Vol. 40, 05.2012, p. 113-139.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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