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The role of ice lines in the formation of Uranus and Neptune


Mousis, O; Aguichine, A; Helled, R; Irwin, P G J; Lunine, J I (2020). The role of ice lines in the formation of Uranus and Neptune. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 378(2187):20200107.

Abstract

We aim at investigating whether the chemical composition of the outer region of the protosolar nebula can be consistent with current estimates of the elemental abundances in the ice giants. To do so, we use a self-consistent evolutionary disc and transport model to investigate the time and radial distributions of H2O, CO, CO2, CH3OH, CH4, N2 and H2S, i.e. the main O-, C-, N and S-bearing volatiles in the outer disc. We show that it is impossible to accrete a mixture composed of gas and solids from the disc with a C/H ratio presenting enrichments comparable to the measurements (approx. 70 times protosolar). We also find that the C/N and C/S ratios measured in Uranus and Neptune are compatible with those acquired by building blocks agglomerated from solids condensed in the 10–20 AU region of the protosolar nebula. By contrast, the presence of protosolar C/N and C/S ratios in Uranus and Neptune would imply that their building blocks agglomerated from particles condensed at larger heliocentric distances. Our study outlines the importance of measuring the elemental abundances in the ice giant atmospheres, as they can be used to trace the planetary formation location, the origin of their building blocks and/or the chemical and physical conditions of the protosolar nebula.

Abstract

We aim at investigating whether the chemical composition of the outer region of the protosolar nebula can be consistent with current estimates of the elemental abundances in the ice giants. To do so, we use a self-consistent evolutionary disc and transport model to investigate the time and radial distributions of H2O, CO, CO2, CH3OH, CH4, N2 and H2S, i.e. the main O-, C-, N and S-bearing volatiles in the outer disc. We show that it is impossible to accrete a mixture composed of gas and solids from the disc with a C/H ratio presenting enrichments comparable to the measurements (approx. 70 times protosolar). We also find that the C/N and C/S ratios measured in Uranus and Neptune are compatible with those acquired by building blocks agglomerated from solids condensed in the 10–20 AU region of the protosolar nebula. By contrast, the presence of protosolar C/N and C/S ratios in Uranus and Neptune would imply that their building blocks agglomerated from particles condensed at larger heliocentric distances. Our study outlines the importance of measuring the elemental abundances in the ice giant atmospheres, as they can be used to trace the planetary formation location, the origin of their building blocks and/or the chemical and physical conditions of the protosolar nebula.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > General Mathematics
Physical Sciences > General Engineering
Physical Sciences > General Physics and Astronomy
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Engineering, General Physics and Astronomy, General Mathematics
Language:English
Date:25 December 2020
Deposited On:15 Feb 2021 06:52
Last Modified:16 Feb 2021 21:01
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:1364-503X
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2020.0107

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