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Effect of mantle oxidation state on the magma ocean atmospheric evolution

Presentation #1102 in the session “Open Engagement Session B”.

Published onMar 17, 2021
Effect of mantle oxidation state on the magma ocean atmospheric evolution

The magma ocean period was a critical phase determining how Earth’s atmosphere developed into habitability. However, there are major uncertainties in the role of key processes such as outgassing from the planetary interior and escape of species to space that play a major role in determining the atmosphere of early Earth. We investigate the effect of outgassing of various species and escape of H2 for different mantle redox states upon the composition and evolution of the atmosphere for the magma ocean period.

We included an important new atmosphere-interior coupling mechanism: the redox evolution of the mantle, which strongly affects the outgassing of species. We simulated the volatile outgassing and chemical speciation at the surface for various redox states of the mantle by employing a C-H-O based chemical speciation model combined with an interior outgassing model. We then applied a line-by-line radiative transfer model to study the remote appearance of the planet in terms of the infrared emission and transmission. Finally, we used a parameterized diffusion-limited and XUV energy-driven atmospheric escape model to calculate the loss of H2 to space. We have simulated the thermal emission and transmission spectra for reduced and oxidized atmospheres present during the magma ocean period of Earth. Reduced/thin atmospheres consisting of H2 in abundance emit more radiation to space and have a larger

effective height than oxidized/thick atmospheres, which are abundant in H2O and CO2. We obtain that the outgassing rates of H2 from the mantle into the atmosphere are a factor of ten times higher than the rates of diffusion-limited escape to space. Our work presents useful insight into the development of the terrestrial atmosphere during the magma ocean period and provides input to guide future studies that discuss exoplanetary interior compositions and their possible links with atmospheric compositions.

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