I study atmosphere-interior exchange on rocky planets, both within our Solar System and beyond. I'm interested in the initial outgassed atmospheres of rocky planets and their evolution with time due to external factors and due to interaction with the solid planet. During planet formation, all the materials that make a planet are intimately mixed together, so the physical and chemical processes of accretion and differentiation can have long term effects on the composition of both the atmosphere and the interior. I study these early processes using a combination of magma ocean, atmospheric and internal structure models. The presence of extant magma oceans on some hot rocky exoplanets provide a window into the early planet differentiation processes of the Solar System.
Full texts are available for all of my publications on my ResearchGate profile.
450 Serra Mall
Bldg. 320 Rm.118
Stanford, CA 94305-2115
lkschaef (at) stanford.edu
PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics • October 2016
B.A. in Earth & Planetary Science • May 2002
Assistant Professor • Jan. 2019 - present
My group studies both Solar System objects and rocky exoplanets. We model atmosphere formation, internal structure and core formation, magma ocean processes including atmosphere-interior interactions and atmospheric escape, as well as specific planets and objects in the Solar System. Interested students should contact me directly about possible research projects and funding opportunities.
Postdoctoral Scholar • August 2016 - 2018
I studied magma ocean processes on the early Earth and other rocky bodies, including planetesimals. I also modeled the metallic asteroid Psyche in support of the Discovery class mission to visit that asteroid.
Research Assistant • June 2002 - July 2011
I worked as a research assistant following my undergraduate degree. I did thermochemical equilibrium modeling of many systems including: volcanic gases on Jupiter's moon Io, meteors in the Earth's atmosphere, trace elements in Venus' atmosphere, thermal metamorphism on meteorite parent bodies and outgassing of early planetary atmospheres.
It is, however, a truism that no element of a complex system can ever be wholly isolated for study. In the present case, it is now very clear that the origin and composition of the atmosphere is intimately intertwined with the overall elemental composition, mineralogy, heat source strength, and melting and differentiation behaviour of the entire planet.John S. Lewis & Ronald Prinn, Planets and their Atmospheres: Origin and Evolution