Astrophysics (index)

Magma Ocean

(presumed to occur early in Earth history and potentially on exoplanets)

A Magma Ocean, i.e., liquid rock on all or on a significant portion of surface of a planet, is expected on a Rocky Planet of sufficiently high Temperature. Early in Earth's history, they are presumed to have occurred due to energy from Accretion, Impacts, and/or due to Radioactive Heating.

As such, in the study of Extra Solar Planets, they can be inferred from temperature estimates (based on the stellar class and orbital size, and/or information from a Light Curve near a Secondary Eclipse), along with the estimates of the density of the planet (from the combination of Radial Velocity and Transit data), if the density estimates suggest a rocky composition. Models of Atmosphere Formation take into account the presence of magma oceans.