Volcanoes may have killed Venus by triggering a greenhouse effect

(ORDO NEWS) — What turned Venus into hell? It could just be the constantly warming Sun, but new research shows that volcanoes may have played a role in creating the greenhouse effect. And the same history of active volcanism almost destroyed the Earth.

The Earth and the Volcano

How often did large-scale episodes of volcanism occur on Earth, and how much did these episodes affect our planet? To understand these issues, a team of researchers studied the occurrence of large magma fields (LMFs), which are huge deposits of magma-generated rocks scattered around the globe.

The only way to create an ILC is to break the earth’s crust. This can happen when tectonic plates move apart or when mantle plumes rise to the surface. During the formation of the IMF, tons of greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere, which dramatically changes the climate.

The formation of one ILC lasts about five million years, and they have a devastating effect on the climate. They have even been linked to more mass extinctions than comet or asteroid impacts on the Earth’s surface.

Incipient disaster

We have only incomplete information about the IMF on Earth. This is due to the fact that our planet is constantly bringing rocks to the surface thanks to plate tectonics. But even though the modern surface of the Earth is only about 500 million years old, smart geologists have been able to find the remains of the CMF buried deep in the crust.

According to a study recently published in The Planetary Science Journal, individual IMFs appear to be random.

There is no known cause that could cause several CMPs to form together. Also, presumably, a single LIP formation event does not lead to irreversible changes in the climate system, since the Earth has already experienced several IMF formations, and the climate is still stable.

However, the formation of an IMF alone can damage the climate by sharply raising the temperature of the atmosphere due to the greenhouse effect. And some of the events associated with the formation of the ILC do indeed coincide with each other by pure chance.

Based on the geological record, the researchers concluded that the simultaneous formation of the ILC is quite likely. Many of them occur within a million years of each other, which is shorter than the duration of the impact of one of them.

Fleeing Venus

Several simultaneous IMF formation events can completely destroy a planet. If too many explosions happen at the same time, too many greenhouse gases will escape into the atmosphere. This can cause a runaway effect. If the atmosphere traps too much heat, then the oceans begin to evaporate.

When there is more water in the atmosphere, it traps even more heat, warming the oceans even more. The cycle goes on and on, eventually leading to the “heat death” of the temperate world.

Obviously, the Earth escaped this fate, but, according to the study, only thanks to its skin. If too many IMFs formed at the same time, our climate could rearrange itself.

Perhaps this is exactly what happened to our sister planet Venus. We see evidence of many dormant volcanoes on Venus, though we don’t know how many have been erased by weathering or plate tectonics.

If too many IMFs happened on Venus at the same time, this could provoke a greenhouse effect, which led to the death of the planet. The next step in this study is to try to understand how much IMF is too much and figure out where the tipping point is.

With increased interest in Venus and upcoming space probes to explore this planet, we may have a window into the history of this planet’s volcanism. Putting it all together, we can learn the unpleasant history of this twisted, explosive world.


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