Super-Earth’s More Like Earth?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 7,014
    A new model from Northwestern University suggests that super-Earth’s may resemble Earth more than we thought with both oceans and continents.

    Super-Earths at several times larger than our own planet are thought to be covered entirely in water.  However, a new study challenges that.  A new model created by researchers at Northwestern University took into account the effects of seafloor pressure and the high gravity of exoplanets.  In our own planet water is moved between oceans and the Earth’s mantle.  The division of this water is determined by seafloor pressure, which is relative to gravity.  In their model, they found that as the size of the super-Earth increases, gravity and seafloor pressure also go up, which would expose land.  They said that they could put 80 times more water on a super-Earth an still have its surface look like Earth.  But they said there is two slight problems in their model—they don’t have knowledge of super-Earth’s tectonics and the amount of water Earth actually has in its mantle.