Spectral Theory of Terrestrial Planets and Gas Giants Normal Modes, Inertia-Gravity Modes, Waveguide Coupling, Tidal Deformation

GMIG’s research has played an important role in determining the thermal structures, chemical compositions, and interior dynamics of planets. Terrestrial planets in Earth’s solar system are approximately spherically symmetric, and their asymmetries become apparent only at high eigenfrequencies. GMIG’s results provide a stable approximation by truncating the spectrum of eigenfrequencies and accounting for discontinuities that arise from phase transitions.

Spectral theory is important to space exploration efforts, such as NASA’s InSight mission to Mars, as spectral data can provide the leading information about its interior. The general spectral theory of rotating terrestrial planets is complicated by their fluid outer cores. GMIG analyzes the associated essential spectra and inertia-gravity modes, providing evidence for waveguide coupling on a planetary scale between Earth’s surface and core-mantle boundary. GMIG also investigates and analyzes the presence of discrete spectra of gas giants sensitive to the equation of state.

Further reading: A non-perturbative approach to computing seismic normal modes in rotating planets