Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Published by Annual Reviews
Online ISSN: 0084-6597
Publications
Article
Stromatolites are attached, lithified sedimentary growth structures, accretionary away from a point or limited surface of initiation. Though the accretion process is commonly regarded to result from the sediment trapping or precipitation-inducing activities of microbial mats, little evidence of this process is preserved in most Precambrian stromatolites. The successful study and interpretation of stromatolites requires a process-based approach, oriented toward deconvolving the replacement textures of ancient stromatolites. The effects of diagenetic recrystallization first must be accounted for, followed by analysis of lamination textures and deduction of possible accretion mechanisms. Accretion hypotheses can be tested using numerical simulations based on modem stromatolite growth processes. Application of this approach has shown that stromatolites were originally formed largely through in situ precipitation of laminae during Archean and older Proterozoic times, but that younger Proterozoic stromatolites grew largely through the accretion of carbonate sediments, most likely through the physical process of microbial trapping and binding. This trend most likely reflects long-term evolution of the earth's environment rather than microbial communities.
 
Metabolic types of prokaryotes
Bacteria on the surface of a metal oxide. This figure shows a metal oxide called manganite (MnOOH) without bacteria ( top panel ) and in a late stage of reduction by a pure culture of the metal reducing bacterium S. putrefaciens ( middle and bottom panels ). The middle panel shows the image obtained via environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM), in which a polymeric layer (probably polysaccharide) is formed and obscures the bacteria. The bottom panel shows the identical field imaged with standard scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in which drying of the samples results in an image of the surface in which the polymeric layer (biofilm) is not seen. ESEM, which allows high-resolution imaging of hydrated samples, thus allows one to eliminate many of the drying and coating artifacts common to SEM analysis of natural samples (Little et al 1991). 
Article
The prokaryotes (bacteria) comprise the bulk of the biomass and chemical activity in sediments. They are well suited to their role as sediment chemists, as they are the right size and have the required metabolic versatility to oxidize the organic carbon in a variety of different ways. The characteristic vertical nutrient (electron donor and electron acceptor) profiles seen in sediments are produced as a result of microbial activities, with each nutrient a product or reactant of one or more metabolic groups. Thus, understanding the mechanisms by which the chemical environment of a sediment is generated and stabilized requires a knowledge of resident populations, something that has been very difficult to obtain, given the techniques available to microbiologists. however, the new approaches of molecular biology, which have added insights into the phylogenetic relationships of the prokaryotes, have also provided tools whereby sedimentary populations can be examined without the need for culturing the organisms. These techniques, in concert with new methods of microscopy, isolation of new metabolic groups, and the study of new ecosystems, suggest that there is much that will be learned about the microbiology of sedimentary environments in the coming years.
 
Article
NASA We do not have a detailed knowledge of the processes that led to the appearance of life on Earth. In this review we bring together some of the most important results that have provided insights into the cosmic and primitive Earth environments, particularly those environments in which life is thought to have originated. To do so, we first discuss the evidence bearing on the antiquity of life on our planet and the prebiotic significance of organic compounds found in interstellar clouds and in primitive solar system bodies such as comets, dark asteroids, and carbonaceous chondrites. This is followed by a discussion on the environmental models of the Hadean and early Archean Earth, as well as on the prebiotic formation of organic monomers and polymers essential to life. We then consider the processes that may have led to the appearance in the Archean of the first cells, and how these processes may have affected the early steps of biological evolution. Finally, the significance of these results to the study of the distribution of life in the Universe is discussed.
 
Diagnostic signatures of impact angle and direction based on laboratory experiments and craters on the Moon and Mars applied to Venus. From Schultz (1992). 
Article
Natural impacts in which the projectile strikes the target vertically are virtually nonexistent. Nevertheless, our inherent drive to simplify nature often causes us to suppose most impacts are nearly vertical. Recent theoretical, observational, and experimental work is improving this situation, but even with the current wealth of studies on impact cratering, the effect of impact angle on the final crater is not well understood. Although craters' rims may appear circular down to low impact angles, the distribution of ejecta around the crater is more sensitive to the angle of impact and currently serves as the best guide to obliquity of impacts. Experimental studies established that crater dimensions depend only on the vertical component of the impact velocity. The shock wave generated by the impact weakens with decreasing impact angle. As a result, melting and vaporization depend on impact angle; however, these processes do not seem to depend on the vertical component of the velocity alone. Finally, obliquity influences the fate of the projectile: in particular, the amount and velocity of ricochet are a strong function of impact angle.
 
Article
The authors review current issues in the study of biogenesis and exobiology research. Topics include definitions of life; exobiological environments in the solar system, including the planets and their satellites, comets, and asteroids; energy sources for prebiotic chemistry, and the concept of the RNA world.
 
Article
An outline is presented of the present status of knowledge of stratospheric aerosols, meteoric debris, nacreous clouds, and noctilucent clouds. Considerable progress has been made in studies of these particles during the previous decade and it is appropriate to synthesize the information to provide a background for studies planned for the 1980s. Numerical models of the formation, growth, and evolution are considered and a description is given of the physical processes involved, taking into account aspects of nucleation, coagulation, condensational growth, sedimentation, and questions of dynamical transport. A schematic outline of the physical and chemical processes included in a model of stratospheric aerosols is provided.
 
Article
Meteorites, which are remnants of solar system formation, provide a direct glimpse into the dynamics and evolution of a young stellar object (YSO), namely our Sun. Much of our knowledge about the astrophysical context of the birth of the Sun, the chronology of planetary growth from micrometer-sized dust to terrestrial planets, and the activity of the young Sun comes from the study of extinct radionuclides such as 26Al (t1/2 = 0.717 Myr). Here we review how the signatures of extinct radionuclides (short-lived isotopes that were present when the solar system formed and that have now decayed below detection level) in planetary materials influence the current paradigm of solar system formation. Particular attention is given to tying meteorite measurements to remote astronomical observations of YSOs and modeling efforts. Some extinct radionuclides were inherited from the long-term chemical evolution of the Galaxy, others were injected into the solar system by a nearby supernova, and some were produced by particle irradiation from the T-Tauri Sun. The chronology inferred from extinct radionuclides reveals that dust agglomeration to form centimeter-sized particles in the inner part of the disk was very rapid (<50 kyr), planetesimal formation started early and spanned several million years, planetary embryos (possibly like Mars) were formed in a few million years, and terrestrial planets (like Earth) completed their growths several tens of million years after the birth of the Sun.
 
Article
Formation mechanisms and nucleation processes are examined, and nucleation in the stratosphere is considered, taking into account binary nucleation, ternary nucleation, binary heterogeneous nucleation, and heteromolecular nucleation. Attention is also given to the growth of aerosol particles, nucleation and growth in models, and the role of aerosols in the upper atmosphere. It is pointed out that various sampling studies and numerical models have provided evidence that the in situ oxidation of sulfur-bearing gases is responsible for the sulfate mass of the stratospheric aerosol. Data obtained by Castleman et al. (1974) suggest that there is a common source of sulfur compounds for the stratosphere of both the northern and southern hemispheres.
 
Article
The literature on the coarse-grained inclusions of the Allende meteorite is reviewed, with attention given to petrography and major minerals, micromineralogy and microtextures, bulk chemical composition, and isotopic composition. It is concluded that the coarse-grained inclusions provide evidence for a supernova explosion that occurred just before condensation, for incompletely homogenized material from several nucleosynthetic sources, and for solar nebular regions of different chemical and isotopic composition.
 
Article
The results of recent observational and theoretical investigations of lineated magnetic anomalies on the ocean floor are summarized in tables, graphs, and diagrams and analyzed. Topics addressed include early lineation models, inversions of magnetic anomalies to obtain source functions, deep-tow studies of magnetic anomalies, evidence from the long-wavelength component of the magnetic field (including Magsat observations), and direct measurements of the magnetic properties of oceanic rocks. It is concluded that the source of the lineated anomalies must reside in most of the oceanic crust, not just in the pillow lavas of layer 2A.
 
Article
It is shown that gravity and topography anomalies on the earth's surface may provide new information about deep processes occurring in the earth, such as those associated with mantle convection. Two main reasons are cited for this. The first is the steady improvement that has occurred in the resolution of the long wavelength gravity field, particularly in the wavelength range of a few hundred to a few thousand km, mainly due to increased coverage of terrestrial gravity measurements and the development of radar altimeters in orbiting satellites. The second reason is the large number of numerical and laboratory experiments of convection in the earth, including some with deformable upper and lower boundaries and temperature-dependent viscosity. The oceans are thought to hold the most promise for determining long wavelength gravity and topography anomalies, since their evolution has been relatively simple in comparison with that of the continents. It is also shown that good correlation between long wavelength gravity and topography anomalies exists over some portions of the ocean floor
 
Article
Stabilization techniques for the storage of radioactive wastes are surveyed, with emphasis on immobilization in a primary barrier of synthetic rock. The composition, half-life, and thermal-emission characteristics of the wastes are shown to require thermally stable immobilization enduring at least 100,000 years. Glass materials are determined to be incapable of withstanding the expected conditions, average temperatures of 100-500 C for the first 100 years. The geological-time stability of crystalline materials, ceramics or synthetic rocks, is examined in detail by comparing their components with similar naturally occurring minerals, especially those containing the same radioactive elements. The high-temperature environment over the first 100 years is seen as stabilizing, since it can recrystallize radiation-induced metamicts. The synthetic-rock stabilization technique is found to be essentially feasible, and improvements are suggested, including the substitution of nepheline with freudenbergite and priderite for alkaline-waste stabilization, the maintenance of low oxygen fugacity, and the dilution of the synthetic-rock pellets into an inert medium.
 
Article
The inner magnetic field of Jupiter is characterized on the basis of Pioneer 10 and 11 measurements and earth-based decimetric radio observations. The dipole parameters derived from the two data sets are in good agreement. Problems in reconciling asymmetries observed in the earth-based data and the spacecraft data are discussed. Models of synchrotron emission from arbitrary magnetic field configurations and high-resolution maps of the Jovian radiation belts in all polarizations are needed to further understanding of Jupiter's magnetic field
 
Article
Global distributions, sources, and sinks of methane and carbon monoxide in upper and lower levels of the earth's atmosphere, and the global budgets of methane and carbon monoxide, are studied, with emphasis on cumulative pollution. Stratospheric contents, vertical profiles of concentrations, simulation of vertical transport through the atmosphere, and latitudinal distributions are examined. Diffuse and localized (urban) concentrations of CO as pollutant are studied, and anthropogenic sources and sinks for CH4 and CO are considered. Perturbation of the CH4-CO-CO2 cycle, crucial to self-cleansing mechanisms of the troposphere, by anthropogenic CO emissions, and the effect of CO long life as global pollutant, are investigated.
 
Article
The idea that planetary atmospheres can erode as a result of impact, and thus lose mass along with solid and molten high velocity ejecta during accretional infall of planetesimals follows from such early thoughtful works as that of Arrhenius et al (1974), Benlow & Meadows (1977), Ringwood (1979), and Cameron (1983). Ahrens et al (1989) describe how planetary impact accretion (and impact erosion) concepts lead naturally, from the idea that atmospheres form and erode during planetary growth.
 
Article
The characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres has come of age in the last decade, as astronomical techniques now allow for albedos, chemical abundances, temperature profiles and maps, rotation periods and even wind speeds to be measured. Atmospheric dynamics sets the background state of density, temperature and velocity that determines or influences the spectral and temporal appearance of an exoplanetary atmosphere. Hot exoplanets are most amenable to these characterization techniques; in the present review, we focus on highly-irradiated, large exoplanets (the "hot Jupiters"), as astronomical data begin to confront theoretical questions. We summarize the basic atmospheric quantities inferred from the astronomical observations. We review the state of the art by addressing a series of current questions and look towards the future by considering a separate set of exploratory questions. Attaining the next level of understanding will require a concerted effort of constructing multi-faceted, multi-wavelength datasets for benchmark objects. Understanding clouds presents a formidable obstacle, as they introduce degeneracies into the interpretation of spectra, yet their properties and existence are directly influenced by atmospheric dynamics. Confronting general circulation models with these multi-faceted, multi-wavelength datasets will help us understand these and other degeneracies. The coming decade will witness a decisive confrontation of theory and simulation by the next generation of astronomical data.
 
Article
Objects in the Kuiper belt are small and far away thus difficult to study in detail even with the best telescopes available at earth. For much of the early history of the Kuiper belt, studies of the compositions of these objects were relegated to collections of moderate quality spectral and photometric data that remained difficult to interpret. Much early effort was put into simple correlations of surface colors and identifications of spectral features, but it was difficult to connect the observations to a larger understanding of the region. The last decade, however, has seen a blossoming in our understanding of the compositions of objects in the Kuiper belt. This blossoming is a product of the discoveries of larger -- and thus easier to study -- objects, continued dedication to the collection of a now quite large collection of high quality photometric and spectroscopic observations, and continued work at the laboratory and theoretical level. Today we now know of many processes which affect the surface compositions of objects in the Kuiper belt, including atmospheric loss, differentiation and cryovolcanism, radiation processing, the effects of giant impacts, and the early dynamical excitation of the Kuiper belt. We review the large quantity of data now available and attempt to build a comprehensive framework for understanding the surface compositions and their causes. In contrast to surface compositions, the bulk compositions of objects in the Kuiper belt remain poorly measured and even more poorly understood, but prospects for a deeper understanding of the formation of the the outer solar are even greater from this subject.
 
Article
The present investigation is concerned with a number of inferences as to the origin of planetary bodies, taking into account the present dynamical state of the solar system and some of the limitations which apply to the considered conclusions. Attention is given to the dynamical processes, specifically those processes which may have influenced the orbital or rotational properties of the planets and satellites. Collisional processes are explored, taking into consideration orbital spacing, planetary rotation, and stochastic effects. In connection with a discussion of the evolution of rotational motion, spin state evolution is investigated along with spin axis precession and resonance variation, and the Cassini states. The evolution of planetary orbits is also studied. The subjects considered are related to tides, secular resonances, disk dynamics, and disk-satellite interactions.
 
Article
A regolith is defined as a layer or mantle of loose, incoherent, rocky material of whatever origin, that nearly everywhere forms the surface of the land and rests on coherent bedrock. The regoliths on many planetary bodies are the result of continual impacts, which transform coherent surfaces into fragmental debris. The present investigation is concerned with the special case of regolith formation and evolution on small objects, such as asteroids and meteorite parent bodies. First order models of regolith evolution on asteroidal surfaces are constructed on the basis of data provided by studies of lunar samples and meteorites. It appears that regolith formation proceeds by deposition of discrete layers of the widely spread ejecta primarily from the larger impacts. Moderate-size (100-300 km diameter) asteroids are covered by modest regoliths of the order of one km in depth. Small rocky asteroids develop negligible regoliths.
 
Article
The past 15 years have brought about a revolution in our understanding of our Solar System and other planetary systems. During this time, discoveries include the first Kuiper Belt Objects, the first brown dwarfs, and the first extra-solar planets. Although discoveries continue apace, they have called into question our previous perspectives on planets, both here and elsewhere. The result has been a debate about the meaning of the word ''planet'' itself. It became clear that scientists do not have a widely accepted or clear definition of what a planet is, and both scientists and the public are confused (and sometimes annoyed) by its use in various contexts. Because ''planet'' is a very widely used term, it seems worth the attempt to resolve this problem. In this essay, we try to cover all the issues that have come to the fore, and bring clarity (if not resolution) to the debate. Comment: 23 pages
 
Article
This paper reviews our current understanding of terrestrial planets formation. The focus is on computer simulations of the dynamical aspects of the accretion process. Throughout the chapter, we combine the results of these theoretical models with geochemical, cosmochemical and chronological constraints, in order to outline a comprehensive scenario of the early evolution of our Solar System. Given that the giant planets formed first in the protoplanetary disk, we stress the sensitive dependence of the terrestrial planet accretion process on the orbital architecture of the giant planets and on their evolution. This suggests a great diversity among the terrestrial planets populations in extrasolar systems. Issues such as the cause for the different masses and accretion timescales between Mars and the Earth and the origin of water (and other volatiles) on our planet are discussed at depth.
 
Article
The matrix of a carbonaceous chondrite is the background "sea' in which the chondrules, inclusions and larger mineral grains occur. It is finely comminuted material which mainly comprises the anhydrous phases of meteorites, such as olivine, pyroxene, and Fe/Ni metal, together with lesser amounts of Fe oxides and sulphides, carbonates, sulphates, and a variety of other minerals. There is much interest in the matrix because it contains information about the early history and development of the carbonaceous chondrites, and provides a model for studying alteration processes in the early solar system. The paper describes the morphology and general characteristics of the matrix, and reviews the classification and chemistry of carbonaceous chondrites. It then discusses matrix mineralogy of the various types of carbonaceous chondrite, before considering alteration processes. -after Authors
 
Article
The development of the Caribbean is discussed in terms of modern tectonic theory. The nature of the site on which the Caribbean formed is examined, and the development of the rifted margins of the Caribbean is described. Constraints on Caribbean evolution from the relative motions of North and South America are briefly examined, and the Caribbean Oceanic Plateau is discussed. The great island-arc system of the Caribbean is addressed in detail, emphasizing the way the Great Arc of the Caribbean was segmented. The role of Central America in Caribbean history is briefly considered.
 
Article
The exposure age histograms for H-, L-, and LL-chondrites are discussed. None of these histograms is consistent with a continuous delivery of asteroidal material to the earth, as the observed T(e) histograms clearly disagree with expected exponential distributions for a variety of orbital lifetimes. It is concluded that T(e) histograms are dominated by stochastic events and that the continuous supply of asteroidal material can account only for a minor background of the T(e) histograms. An attempt is made to identify major collisional levels among the major classes of ordinary chondrites in order to estimate the frequency of stochastic events. Orbital maturity in the inner solar system is documented by the p.m./total fall ratio among observed meteorite falls. All chondrite classes exhibit a uniform ratio of 2/3 except type H5 chondrites, which reveal a 0.5 or lower p.m./total fall ratio. This shift in the time of fall statistics suggests a strongly evolved orbit for the H5 parent at the time of collision about 7 Ma ago.
 
Article
Theoretical models of lunar origin involving one or more collisions between the earth and other large sun-orbiting bodies are examined in a critical review. Ten basic propositions of the collision hypothesis (CH) are listed; observational data on mass and angular momentum, bulk chemistry, volatile depletion, trace elements, primordial high temperatures, and orbital evolution are summarized; and the basic tenets of alternative models (fission, capture, and coformation) are reviewed. Consideration is given to the thermodynamics of large impacts, rheological and dynamical problems, numerical simulations based on the CH, disk evolution models, and the chemical implications of the CH. It is concluded that the sound arguments and evidence supporting the CH are not (yet) sufficient to rule out other hypotheses.
 
Article
Since 240 B.C., Chinese observers have documented a nearly unbroken record of scientifically useful observations of Periodic Comet Halley (P/Halley). Investigations of the comet's motion by Western astronomers are discussed, taking into account the first successful prediction of a cometary return by Halley (1705), computations conducted by Rosenberger (1830), and studies performed by Cowell and Crommelin (1910). Comet Halley's motion and nongravitational forces are considered along with meteor showers associated with P/Halley. The physical properties of P/Halley are examined, giving attention to the visual observations, the light curve of P/Halley, the coma, the tails, direct photographs, spectrograms, and the emission spectrum of P/Halley. Other subjects explored are related to the cometary nucleus, the mass of P/Halley, the rotation period and axial inclination, the composition, a nominal model of P/Halley's coma, and plans for investigations in connection with the coming apparition of Comet Halley.
 
Article
The given review is concerned with a recent breakthrough in the investigation of polar-axis orientations and spin rates, and with the implications for the surface structure of cometary nuclei. The rotation data for twelve comets are summarized in a table. The progress achieved in the past few years has demonstrated that seemingly complex relations among observed physical and dynamical properties of comets can consistently be interpreted in terms of Whipple's (1950, 1951) model of a rotating icy-conglomerate nucleus. The nucleus, probably a few kilometers in diameter for an average comet, is believed to lose mass more or less continuously. Attention is given to the outgassing asymmetry, a formulation of the geometry of the directed ejection, and the role of rotation in cometary outbursts and splitting.
 
Article
The model of lunar evolution in which the anorthositic plagioclase-rich oldest crust of the moon is formed over a period of 300 Myr or less by crystallization as it floats on a global ocean of magma tens or hundreds of km thick is examined in a review of petrological and theoretical studies. Consideration is given to the classification of lunar rocks, the evidence for primordial deep global differentiation, constraints on the depth of the molten zone, the effects of pressure on mineral stability relationships, mainly-liquid vs mainly-magmifer ocean models, and the evidence for multiple ancient differentiation episodes. A synthesis of the model of primordial differentiation and its aftereffects is presented, and the generalization of the model to the earth and to Mars, Mercury, Venus, and the asteroids is discussed.
 
Article
The role of heat transport by solid state mantle convection in determining the past and present thermal states of terrestrial planets is examined. Mantle convection models have relied on two-dimensional and axisymmetric three-dimensional numerical calculations incorporating the temperature and pressure dependence of mantle rheology and its non-Newtonian nature. Convection at high Rayleigh numbers has been investigated through theoretical scaling arguments and boundary layer theories; nevertheless, computational limits prevent modeling of the fully three-dimensional, time-dependent, very high Rayleigh number convection which probably prevails in terrestrial planets. Radar measurements of Venus, as well as Voyager exploration of the Galilean satellites, should also provide information on mantle convection.
 
Article
The properties of the earth's core are overviewed with emphasis on seismologically determined regions and pressures and seismologically measured density, elastic wave velocities, and gravitational acceleration. Attention is given to solid-state convection of the inner core, and it is noted that though seismological results do not conclusively prove that the inner core is convective, the occurrence and magnitude of seismic anisotropy are explained by the effects of solid-state convection. Igneous petrology and geochemistry of the inner core, a layer at the base of the mantle and contact metasomatism at the core-mantle boundary, and evolution of the core-mantle system are discussed. It is pointed out that high-pressure melting experiments indicate that the temperature of the core is ranging from 4500 to 6500 K, and a major implication of such high temperature is that the tectonics and convection of the mantle, as well as the resulting geological processes observed at the surface, are powered by heat from the core. As a result of the high temperatures, along with the compositional contrast between silicates and iron alloy, the core-mantle boundary is considered to be most chemically active region of the earth.
 
Article
The review presented is based mainly on the pre-Viking literature. Early interpretations of the Mariner 4 pictures of Martian craters are considered along with interpretations of Mariner 9 pictures. A description of cratering/obliteration models is presented and aspects of obliteration episode interpretation are discussed, taking into account large, intermediate, and small craters. Alternative interpretations of Martian cratering are also considered and questions of absolute chronology are investigated. The geomorphological processes described include exogenic, aeolian, and aqueous processes. The significance of the various processes and activities for the geomorphological evolution of Mars is evaluated.
 
Article
In an attempt to understand the temperature distribution in the earth, experimental constraints on the geotherm in the crust and mantle are considered. The basic form of the geotherm is interpreted on the basis of two dominant mechanisms by which heat is transported in the earth: (1) conduction through the rock, and (2) advection by thermal flow. Data reveal that: (1) the temperature distributions through continental lithosphere and through oceanic lithosphere more than 60 million years old are practically indistinguishable, (2) crustal uplift is instrumental in modifying continental geotherms, and (3) the average temperature through the Archean crust and mantle was similar to that at present. It is noted that current limitations in understanding the constitution of the lower mantle can lead to significant uncertainties in the thermal response time of the planetary interior.
 
Article
The review article concentrates on dynamic processes at work in the topside ionosphere (between the F2 peak and about 3000 km) where the H ion dominates and ionic reactions can be neglected. The history of ionosphere and plasmasphere research using radio waves is reviewed. Low-speed and high-speed multispecies plasma ion flow is studied with various models (13-moment approximation, 5-moment approximation, kinetic models of the polar wind). Experimental observations of the plasmapause, results of vertical soundings of the topside, and global pole-to-pole distributions of ion composition, plasma temperature, and electron density are reviewed.
 
Article
Super-Earths, objects slightly larger than Earth and slightly smaller than Uranus, have found a special place in exoplanetary science. As a new class of planetary bodies, these objects have challenged models of planet formation at both ends of the spectrum and have triggered a great deal of research on the composition and interior dynamics of rocky planets in connection to their masses and radii. Being relatively easier to detect than an Earth-sized planet at 1 AU around a G star, super-Earths have become the focus of worldwide observational campaigns to search for habitable planets. With a range of masses that allows these objects to retain moderate atmospheres and perhaps even plate tectonics, super-Earths may be habitable if they maintain long-term orbits in the habitable zones of their host stars. Given that in the past two years a few such potentially habitable super-Earths have in fact been discovered, it is necessary to develop a deep understanding of the formation and dynamical evolution of these objects. This article reviews the current state of research on the formation of super-Earths and discusses different models of their formation and dynamical evolution.
 
Article
The paper presents a broad review of the photochemical and dynamic theories of the ozone layer. The two theories are combined into the MIT three-dimensional dynamic-chemical quasi-geostrophic model with 26 levels in the vertical spaced in logarithmic pressure coordinates between the ground and 72-km altitude. The chemical scheme incorporates the important odd nitrogen, odd hydrogen, and odd oxygen chemistry, but is simplified in the sense that it requires specification of the distributions of NO2, OH and HO2. The prognostic equations are the vorticity equation, the perturbation thermodynamic equation, and the global mean and perturbation continuity equations for ozone; diagnostic equations include the hydrostatic equation, the balance condition, and the mass continuity equation. The model is applied to the investigation of the impact of supersonic aircraft on the ozone layer.
 
Article
The origin of the earth is discussed in the context of the formation of the sun and the planets, and a standard model for such a formation assuming gravitational instability in a dense interstellar molecular cloud is outlined, along with the most significant variant of the model in which the loss of the nebular gas occurred after the formation of the earth. The formation of the sun and solar nebulae is addressed, and the coagulation of grains and the formation of small planetesimals are covered, along with the gravitational accumulation of planetesimals into planetary embryos and final stages of accumulation - embryos of planets. It is pointed out that the final stage of accumulation consists of the collision of these embryos; because of their large size, particularly after their further growth, these collisions represent giant impacts. It is concluded that the earth was initially an extremely hot and melted planet, surrounded by a fragile atmosphere and subject to violent impacts by bodies of the size of Ceres and even the moon.
 
Article
Synchrotron-radiation sources and their characteristics are overviewed along with recent synchrotron-based research on earth materials and future earth-science applications utilizing the next generation of synchrotron-radiation sources presently under construction. Focus is placed on X-ray scattering studies of earth materials (crystalline and noncrystalline) under ambient conditions, diffraction studies of earth materials at high pressures and/or temperatures, spectroscopic studies, primarily X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and spatially resolved X-ray fluorescence studies of compositional variations in earth materials. It is noted that other synchrotron-based methods, such as X-ray tomography and topography may become important in characterizing earth materials, while soft X-ray/vacuum ultraviolet radiation from synchrotron sources can be applied to problems involving the structural environments of low-atomic-number elements and the characterization of surface reactions of minerals with liquids and gases.
 
Article
The empirical approach relies on a variety of observations, ranging from patterns of seismicity and measurements of strain and electromagnetic fluctuations to reports of anomalous animal behavior. A brief discussion of the current status of the empirical effort is given here, but a broader approach is considered in the remainder of this review. Probabilistic seismic hazard assessment provides a quantitative basis for estimating seismic risk. The concept of "seismic gaps' has been successful in locating high-risk areas for earthquakes. It is also possible to obtain statistics on larger events from the regional statistics on smaller events. Finally, the implications of a "dynamical systems' approach to earthquake prediction is discussed. The concepts of fractals and chaos are directly applicable to distributed seismicity. -from Author
 
Article
Aspects of convection dominated electrons in the auroral zone are considered, giving attention to the plasma sheet as the source of auroral electrons, the convection electron spatial distribution, the observed electron spatial distribution, and the coupling of convection and precipitation. Questions regarding geomagnetically trapped electrons are also investigated, taking into account the source of Van Allen electrons, the inward radial diffuse transport, the spatial structure of Van Allen electrons, electron slot formation, and the rapid loss of outer zone MeV electrons.
 
Article
The use of particle-track-radiography and X-ray- fluorescence techniques in the in situ measurement of trace (less than 1000 ppm) elements in single mineral phases of polished sections is surveyed, and examples of their application to ordinary, carbonaceous and enstatite chondrites are provided. Radiographic methods surveyed include fission-track radiography (for U, Th, and Pu-244), alpha radiography using nuclear reactions (for Li and B), alpha autoradiography (for Bi and Pb), and beta autoradiography (for several elements in synthetic or biological samples). Two X-ray-fluorescence methods are compared: (1) photon-induced X-ray emission (PIXE), and (2) the potential use of synchrotron radiation. The latter is shown to allow much greater sensitivity than current PIXE technology and a much broader range of elements than particle-track radiography: the ppm analysis of 10-micron grains for all elements heavier than Na. These advantages are seen as balancing the high cost of accelerator use.
 
Article
Recent advances in lunar petrology, based on studies of lunar rock samples available through the Apollo program, are reviewed. Samples of bedrock from both maria and terra have been collected where micrometeorite impact penetrated the regolith and brought bedrock to the surface, but no in situ cores have been taken. Lunar petrogenesis and lunar thermal history supported by studies of the rock sample are discussed and a tentative evolutionary scenario is constructed. Mare basalts, terra assemblages of breccias, soils, rocks, and regolith are subjected to elemental analysis, mineralogical analysis, trace content analysis, with studies of texture, ages and isotopic composition. Probable sources of mare basalts are indicated.
 
Hubble Space Telescope image of the protoplanetary disk HH 30, seen in scattered starlight at optical wavelengths (Burrows et al. 1996). Overlaid are contours from 1.3-mm continuum radiation measured by the Plateau de Bure Inteferometer (PdBI, Guilloteau et al. 2008). The optical image reveals the opaque disk midplane, a dark lane dividing two "bowls" of light scattered by sub-µm grains in flared disk surfaces. Perpendicular to the disk plane is the jet. Mmwave emission arises predominantly from the midplane, plausibly from cm-sized grains that have settled vertically. The mm-wave disk has an outer radius of ∼130 AU, smaller than the optical radius of ∼300 AU, suggesting either that grains grow faster at smaller radius or that cm-sized grains have drifted radially inward ( §3.1.1). Axes are measured in arcseconds; 1 ′′ = 140 AU for an assumed distance of 140 parsecs. The inset shaded spot shows the size of the PdBI beam, a measure of the angular resolution of the mm-wave map. Reproduced by permission of Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Saturated states of the streaming instability, from unstratified simulations of mutually coupled particles and gas by Johansen & Youdin (2007). Shearing box axes are oriented with radius running to the right, azimuth to the left, and vertical straight up. For the simulation on the left, τ s = 1 and ρ p /ρ g = 0.2; for the right, τ s = 0.1 and ρ p /ρ g = 1. Colors show ρ p at the sides of the box, with black corresponding to zero density and bright yellow corresponding to densities up to ∼30ρ g (left) or ∼10ρ g (right). Both snapshots are taken tens of orbits after the SI has saturated, when turbulence is fully developed. For τ s = 1, clumps are long-lived, so that Keplerian shear smears them into rings. Clumps of more tightly coupled particles are shorter-lived. Higher resolution simulations, which are feasible in 2D, produce still stronger clumping. Reproduced by permission of the American Astronomical Society.
Article
Planets are built from planetesimals: solids larger than a kilometer which grow by colliding pairwise. Planetesimals themselves are unlikely to form by two-body collisions; sub-km objects have gravitational fields individually too weak, and electrostatic attraction is too feeble for growth beyond a few cm. We review the possibility that planetesimals form when self-gravity brings together vast ensembles of small particles. Even when self-gravity is weak, aerodynamic processes can accumulate solids relative to gas, paving the way for gravitational collapse. Particles pile up as they drift radially inward. Gas turbulence stirs particles, but can also seed collapse by clumping them. While the feedback of solids on gas triggers vertical shear instabilities that obstruct self-gravity, this same feedback triggers streaming instabilities that strongly concentrate particles. Numerical simulations find that solids 10-100 cm in size gravitationally collapse in turbulent disks. We outline areas for progress, including the possibility that still smaller objects self-gravitate. Comment: To appear in Annual Reviews. This review is intended to be both current and pedagogical. Incorporates suggestions from the community; further comments welcome. v2: Single-spaced
 
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We know that giant planets played a crucial role in the making of our Solar System. The discovery of giant planets orbiting other stars is a formidable opportunity to learn more about these objects, what is their composition, how various processes influence their structure and evolution, and most importantly how they form. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune can be studied in detail, mostly from close spacecraft flybys. We can infer that they are all enriched in heavy elements compared to the Sun, with the relative global enrichments increasing with distance to the Sun. We can also infer that they possess dense cores of varied masses. The intercomparison of presently caracterised extrasolar giant planets show that they are also mainly made of hydrogen and helium, but that they either have significantly different amounts of heavy elements, or have had different orbital evolutions, or both. Hence, many questions remain and are to be answered for significant progresses on the origins of planets. Comment: 43 pages, 11 figures, 3 tables. To appear in Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, vol 33, (2005)
 
Top-cited authors
An Yin
  • University of California, Los Angeles
Alan Zindler
  • Beacon Solar, Taunton, MA
An Yin
  • University of California
W. R. Peltier
  • University of Toronto
Julian Pearce
  • Cardiff University