Dissociation of MgSiO3 in the Cores of Gas Giants and Terrestrial Exoplanets

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Science  17 Feb 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5763, pp. 983-986
DOI: 10.1126/science.1120865

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CaIrO3-type MgSiO3 is the planet-forming silicate stable at pressures and temperatures beyond those of Earth's core-mantle boundary. First-principles quasiharmonic free-energy computations show that this mineral should dissociate into CsCl-type MgO cotunnite-type SiO2 at pressures and temperatures expected to occur in the cores of the gas giants + and in terrestrial exoplanets. At ∼10 megabars and ∼10,000 kelvin, cotunnite-type SiO2 should have thermally activated electron carriers and thus electrical conductivity close to metallic values. Electrons will give a large contribution to thermal conductivity, and electronic damping will suppress radiative heat transport.

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