Venus's play doh crust

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brian livesey
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire

Venus's play doh crust

Post by brian livesey »

A Venus mystery that has puzzled geologists seems to have been resolved by a British-led team of researchers.
The question is: why does Earth-sized Venus have so few volcanoes? Dr. Sami Mikhail of St. Andrews University, with colleagues from Strasbourg, found the answer by studying the intense heat on Venus that makes its crust less solid than Earth's.
Temperatures of 460C make Venus's crust behave like play doh. This means that lava magmas can't make their way through cracks in the crust to form volcanoes; instead, the magma gets stuck in the "squidgy" crust.The nature of the crust also prevents tectonic plates forming like they do on Earth.
Dr. Mikhail said:" If we can understand how and why two almost identical planets became so very different, then we as geologists, can inform astronomers how humanity could find other habitable Earth-like planets, and avoid uninhabitable Earth-like planets that turn out to be more Venus-like which is a barren, hot and hellish wasteland."
This is also a further confirmation of just how special our own planet is in the solar system.
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