A new study suggests that Earth’s hotter sister (Venus is roughly 100 times hotter than Earth) could have formed by Earth-like plate tectonics billions of years ago. The study is published in Nature Astronomy and discusses how atmospheric data from Venus, alongside computer modeling, has delivered them to this particular resolution.
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See, Venus is a lot like Earth. In many ways, it is considered Earth’s evil twin. Venus’s atmosphere is thick and its distance to the Sun make it a harsh planet. It can destroy and crush any spacecraft in just 2 hours. We continue to see similarities with our planet.
This new study, which discusses the potential of early Earth-like plate tectonics on Venus, could help us grasp a better understanding of how Venus formed. This data and others could help us understand Venus better one day.
On Earth, plate tectonics played a vital role in forming the various continents, mountains, and chemical reactions that stabilized our planet’s surface temperature. The situation is different on Venus. For the most part, scientists believe that Venus has a “stagnant lid,” which is essentially just a single tectonic plate with minimal amounts of give.
If this is true, it means that the majority of gasses in Venus were trapped under the crust of its outer layer for billions and years. This has turned it into a ball of death. Data from Venus’s atmosphere and computer models have painted a different picture.
The new data instead shows that for Venus to reach its current state, Venus may have had plate tectonics between 4. 5 billion and 3. 5 billion years ago, after the planet formed. Early tectonic movement would have likely been restricted, similar to early Earth plate movements. Somewhere along the way, though, those multiple plates formed into the stagnant lid responsible for Venus’ current makeup.
But what exactly does this mean? Well, it means that 4. 5 billion years ago, Venus may have had the right conditions to support microbial life, and Venus probably had oceans, too. Scientists had previously thought that Venus and Earth were more similar than they originally believed.
The post Venus may have been shaped by Earth-like plate tectonics appeared first on BGR.