Saswata Hier-Majumder

Assistant Professor



Magma nanotube.

Congratulations Dr. Drombosky
April, 2014
Tyler Drombosky successfully defended his thesis on April 4th, 2014. In his doctoral dissertation, Tyler developed a novel technique for modeling microstructure in deforming, partially molten rocks at the base of the Earth's tectonic plates. Tyler will move on to work at Luminal.

Links to old news from our group.

Subsurface ocean in Triton.

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Tidal dissipation in the crystallizing ice shell of Triton for three different orbital eccentricities, increasing from the left to the right. The movie spans of 4 billion years. In the right, the ice shell warms up with time, as Triton spins up in its orbit.

A schematic diagram of tidal blanketing. High orbital eccentricity (left) warms the shell by high tidal dissipation, reduces basal heat flux, slows freeze rate, resulting in a thin, warm crust. A circular orbit and low tidal dissipation leads to a cooler shell (right), which conducts the latent heat of crystallization easily, leading to a fast rate of shell growth.

Tidal Blanket

How do planetary magma oceans evolve? How does the orbital history of a planet or satellite influence it's thermal and structural evolution? Can we find any clues in the Earth's deep interior that provide us information about the first few hundred million years of the Earth? Is there a subsurface ocean in Neptune's icy satellite Triton?

One aspect of our current research seeks to answer these questions. Graduate student Jodi Gaeman's research involved developing a coupled thermal-orbital-structural evolution model for terrestrial planets and icy satellites. This work is done in collaboration with James Roberts at the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University. This research revealed that tidal dissipation on Triton's icy shell acts as a warm blanket, preventing heat loss of the internal ocean. We term this effect as the `tidal blanketing' effect.

This research is partially supported by the National Science Foundation and NASA.