(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena (USA) found that the Earth and Venus have the same thickness of the earth’s crust, and also radiate internal heat into space, which makes them more similar to each other than previously thought.
Astronomers analyzed data collected by the Magellan spacecraft in the 1990s, which carried out detailed and full-scale radar mapping of Venus from the planet’s orbit.
The researchers calculated the thickness of the lithosphere by measuring bends in geological formations called rims, which are round or oval structures formed by geological and volcanic activity.
It turned out that the average thickness of the lithosphere is 11 ± 7 kilometers. In the depths of Venus, processes similar to those on Earth occur: mantle plumes, intrusive magmatism, and exfoliation, which enhances heat fluxes.
Plume-driven subduction is hypothesized to be the source of Earth’s plate tectonics, and thus Venus could have been analogous to Earth during the Archean eon 4 to 2.5 billion years ago.
Then the Earth’s heat flux was about three times higher than it is today, and although the planet was covered in water, it was much hotter.
Previous models have suggested that Venus had a “stagnant lid” lithosphere, where the Earth’s crust consists of a single lithospheric plate shifting at low speeds under the influence of mantle convection.
According to an alternative hypothesis, the “stagnant cap” could be an episodic phenomenon followed by bursts of tectonic activity.
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