Habitability of the Early Earth

Archean Earth with minimal land and a global ocean. The mantle's water storage capacity was smaller then, so any extra water would have been on the surface, forming bigger oceans (Dong et al. 2021 AGU Adv., Dong et al., 2022 Icarus; image courtesy of Alec Brenner)

Structure and Dynamics of the Deep Earth

Dynamic mantle flow regulated by phase transitions at the base of the mantle transition zone, connecting the subduction of the Farallon slab and the drifting of the North American plate (Dong et al., 2022 arXiv; image courtesy of Luca Dal Zilio).

Giant Planets

The interiors of Uranus and Neptune, the ice giants of our solar system, are thought to be made up of rock and ice, with the ice layer consisting primarily of water (H2O), methane (CH4), and ammonia (NH3) on a small rocky core.


High-Pressure Experiments

High-pressure experiments, such as multi-anvil presses and diamond anvil cells, are employed to study planetary interior material properties. The figure depicts a diamond anvil cell culet.

Thermodynamic Modeling

Thermodynamic modeling helps to study the evolution of planetary interiors. The figure shows the P–T pseudosection, or mineral assemblages, for pyrolite, computed from HeFESTo (Dong et al. 2021 AGU Adv., Dong et al., 2022 Icarus).

First-Principles Simulations

First-principles simulations combined with machine learning probe planetary interior pressures typically inaccessible through experiments. The animation showcases a molecular dynamics simulation of bridgmanite (MgSiO3) at 140 GPa and 4000 K.