Jupiter's evolution with primordial composition gradients

Allona Vazan, Ravit Helled, Tristan Guillot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent formation and structure models of Jupiter suggest that the planet can have composition gradients and not be fully convective (adiabatic). This possibility directly affects our understanding of Jupiter's bulk composition and origin. In this Letter we present Jupiter's evolution with a primordial structure consisting of a relatively steep heavy-element gradient of 40 M. We show that for a primordial structure with composition gradients, most of the mixing occurs in the outer part of the gradient during the early evolution (several 107 yr), leading to an adiabatic outer envelope (60% of Jupiter's mass). We find that the composition gradient in the deep interior persists, suggesting that ∼40% of Jupiter's mass can be non-adiabatic with a higher temperature than the one derived from Jupiter's atmospheric properties. The region that can potentially develop layered convection in Jupiter today is estimated to be limited to ∼10% of the mass.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL14
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknolw edgemen. We thank the referee for valuable comments. A.V. acknowledges support by the Amsterdam Academic Alliance (AAA) Fellowship. R.H. acknowledges support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Grant No. 200021_169054.

Publisher Copyright:
© ESO 2018.


  • Planets and satellites: composition
  • Planets and satellites: formation
  • Planets and satellites: gaseous planets
  • Planets and satellites: individual: Jupiter
  • Planets and satellites: interiors


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