Volatile transport inside super-Earths by entrapment in the water-ice matrix

A. Levi, D. Sasselov, M. Podolak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whether volatiles can be entrapped in a background matrix composing planetary envelopes and be dragged via convection to the surface is a key question in understanding atmospheric fluxes, cycles, and composition. In this paper, we consider super-Earths with an extensive water mantle (i.e., water planets), and the possibility of entrapment of methane in their extensive water-ice envelopes. We adopt the theory developed by van der Waals & Platteeuw for modeling solid solutions, often used for modeling clathrate hydrates, and modify it in order to estimate the thermodynamic stability field of a new phase called methane filled ice Ih. We find that in comparison to water ice VII the filled ice Ih structure may be stable not only at the high pressures but also at the high temperatures expected at the core-water mantle transition boundary of water planets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 May 2013


  • planets and satellites: composition
  • planets and satellites: interiors


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