Dylan K. Spaulding
Origins Postdoctoral Fellow - Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences (Stewart Lab)
Exploring materials under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature is critical for understanding planetary formation, evolution and structure. Impact processes on planetary surfaces also play an important role in shaping the planetary environment and setting the stage for the possible sustenance of life. Here, I will discuss how static compression and shock wave experiments can be used to probe conditions from a few gigapascals to terapascal regimes and from planetary surfaces to the deep interiors of massive super-Earth planets. Results on silicates and oxides abundant in the terrestrial mantle suggest that rocky extra-solar planets may have dramatically different interior dynamics and structure. Similarly, the interiors of gas giants are dependent on the stability of simple molecular systems and the precipitation of dense dissociation products. The potential role of shock waves in driving prebiotic chemistry on planetary surfaces will also be addressed in the context of ongoing experiments.