August 11-15, 2014


A Pilot Search for Evidence of Extrasolar Earth-analog Plate Tectonics

Michael Jura (UCLA)

B. Klein (UCLA), S. Xu (UCLA), E. D. Young (UCLA), D. Koester (Kiel)

Relative to calcium, both strontium and barium are markedly enriched in Earth's continental crust compared to the basaltic crusts of other differentiated rocky bodies within the solar system. Here, we both re-examine available archived Keck spectra to place upper bounds on n(Ba)/n(Ca) and revisit published results for n(Sr)/n(Ca) in two white dwarfs that have accreted rocky planetesimals. We find that not even a small fraction of the pollution is from crustal material that has experienced the distinctive elemental enhancements induced by Earth-analog plate tectonics. In view of the intense theoretical interest in the physical structure of extrasolar rocky planets, this search should be extended to additional targets.

Mode of presentation: oral