According to a new study by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences it has been found that the lithosphere of Venus is not a single whole rather a medley of tectonic plates. This medley is somewhat similar to our earth’s plates but still quite different.
The geological activity of Venus over here suggests that these tectonic plates collide against and cross over each other.
Paul Byrne, Associate professor of planetary science at North Carolina State University, talks about how the tectonic plates of Venus show similarity to Earth as both have close interior motion. Also, studies have found a new form of deformation in the tectonic plates of Venus which were not found earlier.
In 1993 before landing on Venus Byrne and other researchers scanned the atmosphere and lithosphere of Venus and found that some part of the land had moved due to interior motion thus finding out that Venus is geologically active. The images were captured by NASA’s Magellan spacecraft and the land appeared to be pulling apart in some areas and some tectonic plates had gliding over each other.
After the images were captured the researchers created a computer model of the tectonic plates of Venus and found a difference between the tectonic plates of earth and Venus. Plates of venus had a more stagnant motion compared to the extreme motion that could be seen in the earth plates. The motion of the plates of Venus was quite slow and thus it was impossible for mountains to be formed over there.
Earlier Venus was thought to have an inactive motion in its tectonic plates just like the moon and mars had but after this discovery, this news was a big finding as it opposed the earlier truth.
As Venus is a volcanically active planet it is stated by Byrne that Venus is a geologically young planet. But the interior motion has led to the deformation of certain volcanic land due to which it can be said that Venus is geologically active even today.
The pattern of tectonic plates observed on Venus can give us insights about other planets in our planetary system and their formation as well as give us a much deeper understanding of our earth’s formation.
Now Venus and earth have also been seen similarly on the matter of heat flows. Bryne clarified how the thickness of the lithosphere is known as a planet. He explained that it depends on how hot the planet is from the interior and the exterior.
Earth during its formation period was a very hot planet similar to what Venus is now and therefore and thus its lithosphere was quite similar to what Venus has now.
To understand the planets better and predict the formation of new life in other planets as well Nasa and the European Space Agency has thought of sending 3 missions to Venus to find about whether the planet supported life once and had water or not. If traces of life are found on this hot planet it will be a significant finding which can help further to understand our solar system better.