The surface of Venus moves like ice drifting in the ocean

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The surface of Venus moves like ice drifting in the ocean
The surface of Venus moves like ice drifting in the ocean

Despite the fact that Venus is not the planet closest to the Sun, the conditions on it are so dire that the first space mission, Venus-9, which reached the planet in 1975, existed in the atmosphere for only 53 minutes. After the expiration of this time, the station capitulated, falling victim to the hellish conditions on the surface of Venus. But despite the harsh conditions, it is Venus that is most often called the "twin" of the Earth. The fact is that the similarity between the two planets lies primarily in size: the diameter of Venus is 95% of the diameter of the Earth. At the same time, Venus has several paradoxical features. So, a day on Venus lasts more than a year, and its slow rotation means that the planet takes 243 Earth days to complete a revolution around its axis. Moreover, this hellish planet rotates on its axis in a clockwise direction. And the results of the new study did show that the surface of Venus moves like ice drifting in the ocean. With the help of these radars, the researchers found that some of the low-lying parts of Venus's crust are moving and pushing. The new discovery is one of the strongest evidence of tectonic activity on the second planet from the Sun.

Surprisingly, the surface of the most hellish planet in the solar system moves like ice drifting in the ocean.

New research shows that Venus's crust is broken up into large blocks - dark reddish-purple regions - that are surrounded by belts of tectonic structures, shown in lighter yellow-red.

Paradox planet

Not so long ago, two spacecraft - "Magellan" and "Venus Express" became visitors to Venus. "Magellan" made radar mapping of the planet's surface, allowing us to look through its thick clouds. So, now we know that the most outstanding objects of Venus are the Skadi and Maat mountains - the two highest peaks of this hellish planet.

Interestingly, much of Venus's fragile upper crust is shattered into fragments that push and move. The reason, the researchers believe, is the slow mixing of Venus's mantle beneath the surface. Scientists came to this conclusion, using data from radars a decade ago, to study how the surface of Venus interacts with the interior of the planet. The work was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The surface of Venus is full of hills and mountains.

In fact, planetary scientists have known for a long time that Venus has many tectonic landforms. Some of these formations are long, thin belts where the crust has been pulled apart to form ridges, or extended to form depressions and grooves. In many of these belts, there is evidence that chunks of the earth's crust also moved from side to side.

According to The Conversation, the new work shows that these bands of ridges and troughs often mark the boundaries of flat, low-lying areas, which themselves exhibit relatively little deformation and are discrete blocks of Venus's crust that have shifted, rotated, and slid past each other over time. friend, perhaps very recently. It's a bit like plate tectonics, but on a smaller scale and more closely resembles pack ice that floats on the surface of the ocean, the study authors explain.

Geological engine

A new hypothesis put forward in the course of the study states that, like the mantle of the Earth, the mantle of Venus is twisted by currents when heated from below.The authors of the work modeled the slow but powerful movement of the Venusian mantle and showed that it was strong enough to split the upper crust wherever these low-lying blocks were found. Note that the main question about Venus is whether there are active volcanoes and tectonic faults on the planet today.

But no mission to Venus has yet conclusively confirmed that the planet is geologically active. There is amusing but ultimately inconclusive evidence that volcanic eruptions have occurred there in the geologically recent past - and may even be continuing.

The largest block of lowlands the team found is a dark red shape in the center of this radar image the size of Alaska and surrounded by ridges and deformations that appear in lighter colors.

Meanwhile, demonstrating that Venus's geological engine is still working will be of immense importance in understanding the composition of the planet's mantle, namely where and how volcanism can occur today and how the crust itself is formed, destroyed and replaced. Since new research suggests that some of these crustal shifts occurred geologically recently, scientists may have taken a big step forward in understanding whether Venus is indeed active today.

It is also important to understand that plate tectonics on Venus are not the same as on Earth - huge mountain ranges are not created here, but there is evidence of deformation due to an internal mantle flow that has not previously been demonstrated on a global scale, the researchers note. However, it is this deformation that may indicate that Venus is still geologically active.

The more we learn about the surface of Venus, the more we learn about what worlds outside the solar system might be like.

Overall, planetary science is optimistic, and a recently published snapshot of "drifting ice" on Venus could provide clues to tectonic deformations on planets outside our solar system, as well as on a much younger Earth.

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