Rocky planet formation in our solar system was rapid and extremely energetic. Two processes assured that in their infancy planets went through one or more phases where they were mostly or entirely molten – decay of short-lived nuclides and high-energy collisions. The more we study planet formation the clearer it becomes that “magma oceans” and the way they degas and solidify set the stage for evolving to the mature planets we observe today.

Mike Walter

Speaker's Bio

Dr. Michael Walter specializes in high-pressure-temperature experimental petrology and mineral physics to address problems relating to the origin and evolution of planets, their differentiation into mantle and core, mantle melting and element partitioning, high-pressure phase relations and crystal chemistry, and the origin of deep mantle diamonds and their mineral inclusions. Walter's work on diamonds has focused on sub-lithospheric diamonds and their origin in relation to the subduction of surface rocks into the deep mantle, and how they inform us about the cycling of carbon, water, and other volatile components into the deep Earth. Walter was named Director of Carnegie Science's Earth and Planets Laboratory in 2022 after serving two years as Deputy Director and two years heading up the former Geophysical Laboratory.