Coreless terrestrial exoplanets

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61 Scopus citations


Differentiation in terrestrial planets is expected to include the formation of a metallic iron core. We predict the existence of terrestrial planets that have differentiated but have no metallic core, planets that are effectively a giant silicate mantle. We discuss two paths to forming a coreless terrestrial planet, whereby the oxidation state during planetary accretion and solidification will determine the size or existence of any metallic core. Under this hypothesis, any metallic iron in the bulk accreting material is oxidized by water, binding the iron in the form of iron oxide into the silicate minerals of the planetary mantle. The existence of such silicate planets has consequences for interpreting the compositions and interior density structures of exoplanets based on their mass and radius measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-635
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 20 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Accretion
  • Accretion disks
  • Planets and satellites: formation
  • Solar system: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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