A secondary atmosphere is an atmosphere of a planet that did not form by accretion during the formation of the planet's sun. A secondary atmosphere instead forms from internal volcanic activity, or by accumulation of material from comet impacts. It is characteristic of terrestrial planets, which includes Earth, and the other terrestrial planets in the Solar System: Mercury, Venus and Mars. Secondary atmospheres are relatively thin when compared to primary atmospheres like the one found on Jupiter.
- Dr. James Schombert (2004). "Primary Atmospheres (Astronomy 121: Lecture 14 Terrestrial Planet Atmospheres)". Department of Physics University of Oregon. Retrieved 2009-12-22.
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