Volume 618, October 2018
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||22 October 2018|
Letter to the Editor
Capturing the oxidation of silicon carbide in rocky exoplanetary interiors
Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Department of Earth Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Accepted: 24 September 2018
Context. Theoretical models predict the condensation of silicon carbide around host stars with C/O ratios higher than 0.65 (cf. C/OSun = 0.54), in addition to its observations in meteorites, interstellar medium and protoplanetary disks. Consequently, the interiors of rocky exoplanets born from carbon-enriched refractory material are often assumed to contain large amounts of silicon carbide.
Aims. Here we aim to investigate the stability of silicon carbide in the interior of carbon-enriched rocky exoplanets and to derive the reaction leading to its transformation.
Methods. We performed a high-pressure high-temperature experiment to investigate the reaction between a silicon carbide layer and a layer representative of the bulk composition of a carbon-enriched rocky exoplanet.
Results. We report the reaction leading to oxidation of silicon carbide producing quartz, graphite, and molten iron silicide. Combined with previous studies, we show that in order to stabilize silicon carbide, carbon saturation is not sufficient, and a complete reduction of Fe2+ to Fe0 in a planetary mantle is required, suggesting that future spectroscopic detection of Fe2+ or Fe3+ on the surface of rocky exoplanets would imply the absence of silicon carbide in their interiors.
Key words: planets and satellites: terrestrial planets / planets and satellites: composition / planets and satellites: interiors / planets and satellites: surfaces / methods: laboratory: molecular
© ESO 2018
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.