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Journal Articles Earth and Planetary Science Letters Year : 2024

The thermal equation of state of the magma Ocean

Razvan Caracas


As the protolunar disk formed by the giant impact with the incoming asteroid Theia started to cool, the Earth condensed in its center as a molten planet. The outer layer, rich in lithophile oxides, formed the magma ocean, whose dynamical behavior heavily influenced the entire evolution of the early Earth. Here, we employ first-principles molecular dynamics simulations to characterize the magma ocean in its initial stage. We compute the compressibility and the viscosity of the molten pyrolite, which best approximates the bulk silicate Earth composition. With an extensive set of calculations, we span the entire relevant pressure-temperature range. We provide a detailed analysis of the athermal and thermal equations of state in various formulations. We obtain a linear temperature dependence for the bulk modulus using the 4th order Birch-Murnaghan equation of state. We show that the liquid silicate accommodates compression by the collapse of the second Si-O coordination sphere, whose corresponding coordination number passes from about 24 at the surface of the magma ocean to about 40 at its deepest point. We found that pyrolite melts have a very low viscosity, about one order of magnitude lower than that of molten basalt. We also propose a revised position of the critical point of the bulk silicate Earth, which lies around 6000 K and 1.1–1.2 kbars.
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hal-04584644 , version 1 (23-05-2024)




Razvan Caracas. The thermal equation of state of the magma Ocean. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2024, 637, pp.118724. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2024.118724⟩. ⟨hal-04584644⟩
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