Just as graphite can transform intodiamond under high pressure, liquid magmas may similarly undergo major transformations at the pressures and temperatures that exist deep inside Earth-like planets. Using high-powered lasers, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and collaborators discovered that molten magnesium silicate undergoes a phase change in the liquid state, abruptly transforming to a more dense liquid with increasing pressure. The research provides insight into planet formation.
A phase transition is the transformation of a thermodynamic system from one phase or state of matter to another.During a phase transition of a given medium certain distinct properties of the medium change, due to some external condition, such as temperature, pressure, and others. For example, a liquid may become gas upon heating to the boiling point.
Melts play a key role in planetary evolution. The research team said that pressure-induced liquid-liquid phase separation in silicate magmas may represent an important mechanism for global-scale chemical differentiation and also may influence the thermal transport and convective processes that govern the formation of a mantle and core early in planetary history. Liquid-liquid phase separation is similar to the difference between oil and vinegar — they want to separate because of their different densities.
Links and Source(s): ENN , Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory News Release ,Zonal Education, Wikipedia-Magma
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