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Exotic Substances Discovered Within Super-Earths

Update Date: Dec 29, 2015 10:01 AM EST
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With mathematical models to peek into the interior of super-earths, scientists find that they may be comprised of certain compounds not allowed by the classical rules of chemistry, according to scienceworldreport.

What are super-earths, anyway? They are planets with a solid surface mass many times greater than that of the Earth. There are no such super-earths in our solar system, but while some planets orbiting other stars are not as heavy as the gas giants, they are much heavier than the earth.

Researchers have tried to find out which compounds may be formed by silicon, oxygen and magnesium at high pressures.

The computer models show that the super-earths might have the "exotic" compounds MgSi3O12 and MgSiO6, and also have many more oxygen atoms than the MgSiO3 on earth.

"Earth-like planets consist of a thin silicate crust, a silicate-oxide mantle, which makes up approximately 7/8 of the Earth's volume and consists more than 90 percent of silicates and magnesium oxide-and an iron core," said Artem Oganov, one of the researchers, in a news release. "We can say that magnesium, oxygen, and silicon form the ,basis of chemistry on Earth and on Earth-like planets."

Scientists have understood the compounds and the plate tectonics that may occur on the planets.

The USPEX algorithm was used to check structural compositions of Mg-Si-O that may be present at pressures ranging from 5 to 30 million atmospheres. Such pressures may be existing inside the super-earths.

The findings are published in Scientific Reports.

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