UE8 – Chemistry and mineralogy of planetary interiors

This class addresses the chemical and mineralogical composition of planetary interiors: Earth and telluric planets, giant planets, exoplanets. Planetary materials along with the evolution of their physical and chemical properties at depth that underpin planetary dynamics are presented based on the current status of knowledge from experiments at extreme conditions of pressure and temperature which prevail in planetary interiors.

Lectures – Behaviour of planetary materials at extreme conditions

- Presentation of techniques for generating high pressures and high temperatures: static techniques (presses, diamond anvil cells), dynamic techniques (shocks, compression ramps); how to measure the key chemical and physical properties of materials under extreme conditions (equations of state, phase diagrams, transport properties, chemical reactivity, etc.).

- Giant planets, icy satellites and exoplanets: phase diagrams of hydrogen/helium, “planetary ices” (H2O-NH3-CH4 system, crystalline and liquid phases) and properties of these materials in relation to the internal structure and planetary dynamics.

- Earth, terrestrial planets, their satellites and super-Earths: behavior of silicates and iron and its alloys, crystalline and liquid phases (magmas, liquid iron); implications for the structure, dynamics and differentiation of terrestrial planets.


- Carbon and oxygen at extreme conditions in terrestrial planets

- Choc compression : from techniques to planetary contexts

Labs and tutorials

- Tutorial “Build your own planet” using python code Burnman

- Diamond-anvil cell lab: hands-on (loading DACs) and Raman spectroscopy experiments under high pressure

- visit of the high pressure labs at IMPMC

Teaching outcomes

- knowing what to measure on what material to understand planetary interiors and their dynamics
- critical reading of high pressure experimental articles


- Ce que disent les minéraux, P. Cordier et H. Leroux, Eds Belin – Pour la Science, 2008.
- L’intérieur de la Terre et des planètes, A. Dewaele et C. Sanloup, Eds Belin, 2005.
- La géochimie, F. Albarède, Eds Gordon&Breach, 2001.


- Structure and mineralogy of Earth’s interiors (seismological PREM model)
- Basics in geochemistry (partition coefficients, geochemical affinity of elements)


- short experimental proposal (group work) and individual interviews on the proposal
- lab reports

Teaching team

- Chrystèle Sanloup (course organizer), chrystele.sanloup[@robas]sorbonne-universite.fr
- Eglantine Boulard, eglantine.boulard[@robas]sorbonne-universite.fr

IMPMC, Sorbonne Université, Campus Pierre et Marie Curie, 4 Place Jussieu, Paris