Lava worlds: From early earth to exoplanets

1Keng-Hsien Chao,1Rebecca deGraffenried,1Mackenzie Lach,1William Nelson,1Kelly Truax,1Eric Gaidos
Geochemistry [Chemie der Erde] (in Press) Link to Article []
1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Copyright Elsevier

The magma ocean concept was first conceived to explain the geology of the Moon, but hemispherical or global oceans of silicate melt could be a widespread “lava world” phase of rocky planet accretion, and could persist on planets on short-period orbits around other stars. The formation and crystallization of magma oceans could be a defining stage in the assembly of a core, origin of a crust, initiation of tectonics, and formation of an atmosphere. The last decade has seen significant advances in our understanding of this phenomenon through analysis of terrestrial and extraterrestrial samples, planetary missions, and astronomical observations of exoplanets. This review describes the energetic basis of magma oceans and lava worlds and the lava lake analogs available for study on Earth and Io. It provides an overview of evidence for magma oceans throughout the Solar System and considers the factors that control the rocks these magma oceans leave behind. It describes research on theoretical and observed exoplanets that could host extant magma oceans and summarizes efforts to detect and characterize them. It reviews modeling of the evolution of magma oceans as a result of crystallization and evaporation, the interaction with the underlying solid mantle, and the effects of planetary rotation. The review also considers theoretical investigations on the formation of an atmosphere in concert with the magma ocean and in response to irradiation from the host star, and possible end-states. Finally, it describes needs and gaps in our knowledge and points to future opportunities with new planetary missions and space telescopes to identify and better characterize lava worlds around nearby stars.


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