Venus could still be geologically active today, meaning that our planet’s siblings is a good place for researchers to study early Earth and faraway worlds.
An international research team used old radar imagery from NASA’s Magellan mission, which closed its operation in 2004, to analyze the planet’s surface.
They discovered places where chunks of crust slide and turn like “pack ice,” the researchers stated.
As the regions the analysis focused on are relatively young, the geological activity provoking the motions took place not too long ago and may still be happening today.
The research suggests that Venus could still generate geological activity from deep within itself, in contrast to former speculations that the planet’s crust was a solid block, similar to Earth’s moon.
Tectonic plates, where they occur, are more than a jostling of a planet’s rocky layer, also known as the lithosphere. They are a fundamental part of its carbon cycle, which is crucial on our planet as it helps support life.
Our planet didn’t always present the carbon cycle configuration it has now.
It used to be considerably hotter millions of years ago, and scientists believe the new research regarding the planet’s surface may answer questions regarding tectonic activity on a young Earth or other planets.
Venus’ geological activity isn’t the same as it is on our planet – It could be proof that a molten region, also known as the mantle, could be flowing on a global scale beneath the planet’s surface.
Paul Byrne, an associate professor of planetary science from the North Carolina State University and the study’s lead author, stated:
“Plate tectonics on Earth are driven by convection in the mantle. The mantle is hot or cold in different places, it moves, and some of that motion transfers to Earth’s surface in the form of plate movement.”