planetary evolution


Summary: Creation and development of bodies within solar systems, includes study of early planetary geology.

Top Publications

  1. Lenton T, van Oijen M. Gaia as a complex adaptive system. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2002;357:683-95 pubmed
    ..With mutation in the model system, it exhibits self-organizing adaptive behaviour in its response to forcing. We close by suggesting how artificial life ('Alife') techniques may enable more comprehensive feasibility tests of Gaia. ..
  2. Gellert R, Rieder R, Anderson R, Bruckner J, Clark B, Dreibus G, et al. Chemistry of rocks and soils in Gusev Crater from the alpha particle x-ray spectrometer. Science. 2004;305:829-32 pubmed
    ..High abundance of bromine (up to 170 parts per million) in rocks may indicate the alteration of surfaces formed during a past period of aqueous activity in Gusev crater. ..
  3. Greeley R, Squyres S, Arvidson R, Bartlett P, Bell J, Blaney D, et al. Wind-related processes detected by the Spirit Rover at Gusev Crater, Mars. Science. 2004;305:810-3 pubmed
    ..Characteristics of some rocks, such as a two-toned appearance, suggest that they were possibly buried and exhumed on the order of 5 to 60 centimeters by wind deflation, depending on location. ..
  4. Smith D, Zuber M, Solomon S, Phillips R, Head J, Garvin J, et al. The global topography of Mars and implications for surface evolution. Science. 1999;284:1495-503 pubmed
    ..The present topography has three major drainage centers, with the northern lowlands being the largest. The two polar cap volumes yield an upper limit of the present surface water inventory of 3.2 to 4.7 million cubic kilometers. ..
  5. Thomas P, Malin M, Edgett K, Carr M, Hartmann W, Ingersoll A, et al. North-south geological differences between the residual polar caps on Mars. Nature. 2000;404:161-4 pubmed
    ..These findings indicate that the differences between the caps are substantial (rather than reflecting short-lived differences in frost cover), and so support the idea of long-term asymmetry in the polar climates of Mars. ..
  6. Rye R, Holland H. Life associated with a 2.76 Ga ephemeral pond?: evidence from Mount Roe #2 paleosol. Geology. 2000;28:483-6 pubmed
    ..The radiative forcing due to such high atmospheric methane levels could have compensated for the faint younger sun and helped to prevent massive glaciation during the Late Archean. ..
  7. Pope K, Baines K, Ocampo A, Ivanov B. Energy, volatile production, and climatic effects of the Chicxulub Cretaceous/Tertiary impact. J Geophys Res. 1997;102:21645-64 pubmed
    ..This upwelling apparently drastically altered ocean stratification and circulation, which may explain the global collapse of the delta 13C gradient between surface and deep ocean waters at the K/T boundary. ..
  8. Flynn G. The delivery of organic matter from asteroids and comets to the early surface of Mars. Earth Moon Planets. 1996;72:469-74 pubmed
    ..Interplanetary dust is shown to deliver an order-of-magnitude higher surface concentration of carbon onto Mars than onto Earth, suggesting interplanetary dust may be an important source of carbon on Mars as well. ..
  9. Niles P, Boynton W, Hoffman J, Ming D, Hamara D. Stable isotope measurements of martian atmospheric CO2 at the Phoenix landing site. Science. 2010;329:1334-7 pubmed publisher

More Information


  1. Kasting J, Ono S. Palaeoclimates: the first two billion years. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2006;361:917-29 pubmed
    ..The Mid-Archaean glaciations may have been caused by a drawdown in H2 and CH4 caused by the origin of bacterial sulphate reduction. More work is needed to test this latter hypothesis. ..
  2. Helffrich G. Chemical and seismological constraints on mantle heterogeneity. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2002;360:2493-505 pubmed
    ..With the present techniques to detect small bodies through scattering, only ca. 55% of the mantle's small-scale heterogeneities are detectable seismically. ..
  3. Des Marais D, Walter M. Astrobiology: exploring the origins, evolution, and distribution of life in the Universe. Annu Rev Ecol Syst. 1999;30:397-420 pubmed
    ..Astrobiologists learn how to recognize the morphological, chemical, and spectroscopic signatures of life in order to explore both extraterrestrial samples and electromagnetic spectra reflected from extrasolar planets. ..
  4. Lunine J, Yung Y, Lorenz R. On the volatile inventory of Titan from isotopic abundances in nitrogen and methane. Planet Space Sci. 1999;47:1291-303 pubmed
    ..The value of, and interest in, the Cassini-Huygens data can be greatly enhanced if such a program were undertaken prior to the prime phase of the mission. ..
  5. Holland H. Evidence for life on Earth more than 3850 million years ago. Science. 1997;275:38-9 pubmed
    ..The author examines this study in relation to studies conducted on rocks between 3250 and 3800 million years old and presents reasons to agree and disagree with the interpretation of data. ..
  6. Catling D, Zahnle K, McKay C. Biogenic methane, hydrogen escape, and the irreversible oxidation of early Earth. Science. 2001;293:839-43 pubmed
    ..Expected irreversible oxidation (approximately 10(12) to 10(13) moles oxygen per year) may help explain how Earth's surface environment became irreversibly oxidized. ..
  7. Jakosky B, Phillips R. Mars' volatile and climate history. Nature. 2001;412:237-44 pubmed
    ..We piece together the relevant observations into a coherent view of the evolution of the martian climate, focusing in particular on the observations that provide the strongest constraints. ..
  8. Wiechert U, Halliday A, Lee D, Snyder G, Taylor L, Rumble D. Oxygen isotopes and the moon-forming giant impact. Science. 2001;294:345-8 pubmed
    ..The three oxygen isotopes (delta17O) provide no evidence that isotopic heterogeneity on the Moon was created by lunar impacts. ..
  9. Mosbrugger V, Utescher T, Dilcher D. Cenozoic continental climatic evolution of Central Europe. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005;102:14964-9 pubmed
    ..Moreover, our data support the concept that changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, although linked to climate changes, were not the major driving force of Cenozoic cooling. ..
  10. Lindsay J, McKay D, Allen C. Earth's earliest biosphere-a proposal to develop a collection of curated archean geologic reference materials. Astrobiology. 2003;3:739-58 pubmed
    ..All samples would be collected in a well-defined geological context in order to build a framework to test models for the early evolution of life on Earth and to develop protocols for the search for life on other planets. ..
  11. Grand S. Mantle shear-wave tomography and the fate of subducted slabs. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2002;360:2475-91 pubmed
    ..The interruption in slab sinking is likely to be associated with the 660 km discontinuity. ..
  12. Malin M, Carr M. Groundwater formation of martian valleys. Nature. 1999;397:589-91 pubmed
    ..Here we present high-resolution images of martian valleys that support the view that ground water played an important role in their formation, although we are unable as yet to establish when this occurred. ..
  13. Owen T, Bar Nun A. Contributions of icy planetesimals to the Earth's early atmosphere. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2001;31:435-58 pubmed
    ..Venus may require a contribution from icy planetesimals formed at the low temperatures characteristic of the Kuiper Belt...
  14. Williams P. Modelling climate change: the role of unresolved processes. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2005;363:2931-46 pubmed
    ..A recent novel solution to the problem is discussed, in which it is proposed, somewhat counter-intuitively, that the performance of models may be improved by adding random noise to represent the unresolved processes. ..
  15. Pavlov A, Kasting J, Brown L, Rages K, Freedman R. Greenhouse warming by CH4 in the atmosphere of early Earth. J Geophys Res. 2000;105:11981-90 pubmed
    ..Elimination of the methane component of the greenhouse by oxidation of the atmosphere at about 2.3-2.4 Ga could have triggered the Earth's first widespread glaciation. ..
  16. Gaidos E, Deschenes B, Dundon L, Fagan K, Menviel Hessler L, Moskovitz N, et al. Beyond the principle of plentitude: a review of terrestrial planet habitability. Astrobiology. 2005;5:100-26 pubmed
    ..Such evidence provides us with an important, if nominal, calibration point for our search for other habitable worlds. ..
  17. Dietrich L, Tice M, Newman D. The co-evolution of life and Earth. Curr Biol. 2006;16:R395-400 pubmed
  18. Levison H, Duncan M, Brasser R, Kaufmann D. Capture of the Sun's Oort cloud from stars in its birth cluster. Science. 2010;329:187-90 pubmed publisher
    ..Our results imply that a substantial fraction of the Oort cloud comets, perhaps exceeding 90%, are from the protoplanetary disks of other stars. ..
  19. Korotev R. Planetary science. A unique chunk of the Moon. Science. 2004;305:622-3 pubmed
  20. Bhattacharjee Y. Science and society. Smithsonian gives grudging ok to film backing ID argument. Science. 2005;308:1526 pubmed
  21. Ganopolski A. Glacial integrative modelling. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2003;361:1871-83; discussion 1883-4 pubmed
    ..At the same time, it is shown that realistic representation of the temporal evolution of the palaeoclimatic background is crucial to simulate observed features of the glacial abrupt climate changes. ..
  22. Smolin L. The self-organization of space and time. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2003;361:1081-8 pubmed
  23. Janhunen P, Kaartokallio H, Oksanen I, Lehto K, Lehto H. Biological feedbacks as cause and demise of the Neoproterozoic icehouse: astrobiological prospects for faster evolution and importance of cold conditions. PLoS ONE. 2007;2:e214 pubmed
    ..We also suggest that snow and glaciers are, in a statistical sense, important markers for conditions that may possibly promote the development of complex life on extrasolar planets. ..
  24. Duncan M, Levison H. A disk of scattered icy objects and the origin of Jupiter-family comets. Science. 1997;276:1670-2 pubmed
    ..Two recently discovered objects, 1996 RQ20 and 1996 TL66, have orbital elements similar to those predicted for objects in this disk, suggesting that they are thus far the only members of this disk to be identified. ..
  25. Pham L, Karatekin O, Dehant V. Effects of meteorite impacts on the atmospheric evolution of Mars. Astrobiology. 2009;9:45-54 pubmed publisher
  26. Tackley P, Xie S. The thermochemical structure and evolution of Earth's mantle: constraints and numerical models. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2002;360:2593-609 pubmed
    ..If primitive material exists as a dense basal layer, it must be much denser than subducted crust in order to retain its primitive (e.g. high-(3)He) signature. Much progress is expected in the near future. ..
  27. Rasool S, Jastrow R. The atmospheres of Mars, Venus and Jupiter. Life Sci Space Res. 1964;2:3-24 pubmed
  28. Bada J, Bigham C, Miller S. Impact melting of frozen oceans on the early Earth: implications for the origin of life. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994;91:1248-50 pubmed
    ..Thaw-freeze cycles associated with bolide impacts could have been important for the initiation of abiotic reactions that gave rise to the first living organisms. ..
  29. Read J, Trentham N. The baryonic mass function of galaxies. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2005;363:2693-710 pubmed
    ..They probably exist in a warm/hot intergalactic medium. Searching for direct observational evidence and deeper theoretical understanding for this will form one of the major challenges for astronomy in the next decade. ..
  30. Emery R. "Bioplutonism" and the evolutionary implications of beneficial genes from another biosphere. Biosystems. 2005;82:83-92 pubmed
  31. Sheppard S, Trujillo C. A thick cloud of Neptune Trojans and their colors. Science. 2006;313:511-4 pubmed
    ..Our color measurements show that Neptune Trojans have statistically indistinguishable slightly red colors, which suggests that they had a common formation and evolutionary history and are distinct from the classical Kuiper Belt objects. ..
  32. Greenwood R, Franchi I, Jambon A, Barrat J, Burbine T. Oxygen isotope variation in stony-iron meteorites. Science. 2006;313:1763-5 pubmed
    ..The stony-iron meteorites demonstrate that intense asteroidal deformation accompanied planetary accretion in the early Solar System. ..
  33. Aguilar Peris J. [Dark matter and dark energy of the universe]. An R Acad Nac Med (Madr). 2005;122:233-46; discussion 246-7 pubmed
    ..Should this expansion continue for another 14,000 million years, the sky will darken with only a handful of galaxies remaining visible. ..
  34. Williams D, Kasting J, Frakes L. Low-latitude glaciation and rapid changes in the Earth's obliquity explained by obliquity-oblateness feedback. Nature. 1998;396:453-5 pubmed
    ..A high obliquity for the early Earth may also provide a natural explanation for the present inclination of the lunar orbit with respect to the ecliptic (5 degrees), which is otherwise difficult to explain. ..
  35. Stern S. Delayed gratification habitable zones: when deep outer solar system regions become balmy during post-main sequence stellar evolution. Astrobiology. 2003;3:317-21 pubmed
  36. Staley J. Astrobiology, the transcendent science: the promise of astrobiology as an integrative approach for science and engineering education and research. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2003;14:347-54 pubmed
    ..The rationale for implementing novel educational programs in astrobiology is presented along with specific research and educational policy recommendations. ..
  37. Wolbach W, Widicus S, Kyte F. A search for soot from global wildfires in central Pacific Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary and other extinction and impact horizon sediments. Astrobiology. 2003;3:91-7 pubmed
    ..We find no evidence for wildfires related to major impacts in the late Eocene or to Ir anomalies and extinctions in the late Cenomanian. ..
  38. Lourenço W. First record of the family Pseudochactidae Gromov (Chelicerata, Scorpiones) from Laos and new biogeographic evidence of a Pangaean palaeodistribution. C R Biol. 2007;330:770-7 pubmed
    ..The possible biogeographic consequences of this scorpion's distribution are discussed, associated with the possible Pangaean origin of pseudochactid scorpions. ..
  39. Arrhenius G, Lepland A. Accretion of Moon and Earth and the emergence of life. Chem Geol. 2000;169:69-82 pubmed
  40. Benzie I. Evolution of antioxidant defence mechanisms. Eur J Nutr. 2000;39:53-61 pubmed
    ..Finally, suggested benefits underlying our curious inability to manufacture ascorbic acid, and the possible role of uric acid in human antioxidant defence, are briefly discussed with particular reference to nutrition and toxicology. ..
  41. Miller A. Dissecting global diversity patterns: examples from the Ordovician Radiation. Annu Rev Ecol Syst. 1997;28:85-104 pubmed
  42. Whitmire D, Doyle L, Reynolds R, Matese J. A slightly more massive young Sun as an explanation for warm temperatures on early Mars. J Geophys Res. 1995;100:5457-64 pubmed
    ..2(-0.2, +0.4) Gyr of the Sun's main sequence phase. The implied mass-loss rate of 4(+3, -2) x 10(-11) M solar yr-1, or about 10(3)x that of the current Sun, may be detectable in several nearby young solar type stars. ..
  43. Levasseur Regourd A, Lasue J, Desvoivres E. Early inner solar system impactors: physical properties of comet nuclei and dust particles revisited. Orig Life Evol Biosph. 2006;36:507-14 pubmed
  44. Bethell T, Bergin E. Formation and survival of water vapor in the terrestrial planet-forming region. Science. 2009;326:1675-7 pubmed publisher
    ..The total abundance of water vapor in the natal habitable zone is equal to that of several thousand oceans. ..
  45. Retallack G. Carbon dioxide and climate over the past 300 Myr. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2002;360:659-73 pubmed
  46. Martin A. The kaleidoscope ocean. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2005;363:2873-90 pubmed
  47. Irving E. The role of latitude in mobilism debates. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005;102:1821-8 pubmed
  48. Squyres S, Arvidson R, Bell J, Bruckner J, Cabrol N, Calvin W, et al. The Opportunity Rover's Athena science investigation at Meridiani Planum, Mars. Science. 2004;306:1698-703 pubmed
    ..Hematite-rich spherules are embedded in the rock and eroding from them. We interpret these spherules to be concretions formed by postdepositional diagenesis, again involving liquid water. ..
  49. Frenk C. Simulating the formation of cosmic structure. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2002;360:1277-94 pubmed
    ..Although many unresolved questions remain, a coherent picture for the formation of cosmic structure is now beginning to emerge. ..
  50. Lawler A. Planetary science. Moon maintains its mysteries. Science. 2003;300:727 pubmed
  51. Nuth J, Hill H, Kletetschka G. Determining the ages of comets from the fraction of crystalline dust. Nature. 2000;406:275-6 pubmed
    ..Studies of comets with different dust contents can therefore be used to investigate the timescales of the early Solar System. ..
  52. Zuber M, Solomon S, Phillips R, Smith D, Tyler G, Aharonson O, et al. Internal structure and early thermal evolution of Mars from Mars Global Surveyor topography and gravity. Science. 2000;287:1788-93 pubmed
    ..The northern lowlands contain structures interpreted as large buried channels that are consistent with northward transport of water and sediment to the lowlands before the end of northern hemisphere resurfacing. ..
  53. Farley K, Montanari A, Shoemaker E, Shoemaker C. Geochemical evidence for a comet shower in the late Eocene. Science. 1998;280:1250-3 pubmed
    ..These observations provide evidence for a comet shower triggered by an impulsive perturbation of the Oort cloud. ..