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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
This is an image of Mt. St. Helens, in Washington, USA.
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Image from: USGS, courtesy of Volcano World

Do Other Planets have a surface in Motion?

Let's look at the evidence:

What about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Titan, or Pluto? These planets or moons either have no surface, or the surface cannot be seen from the Earth.


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Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Surface of Europa

Many exciting discoveries were made about Europa during the Galileo mission. The surface of Europa is unusual, even for an icy moon. It appears that the surface is pretty new, rather than being ancient....more

Does Ganymede Have a Surface in Motion?

There has been no icy volcanism on Ganymede, nor continental drift, but it does seem that there have been movements of the surface. Examination of the surface of Ganymede reveals many kinds of faulting....more

The Layers Inside of Jupiter

There is no surface to the giant planets, only a gradual change from the atmosphere, as shown in this drawing. The gases which Jupiter is mostly made of change to liquid inside Jupiter, but the change...more

The Layers of Saturn's Interior

There is no surface to the giant planets, only a gradual change from the atmosphere, as shown in this drawing. The gases which Saturn is mostly made of change to liquid inside Saturn, but the change is...more

The Structure of Uranus' Interior

There is no surface to the giant planets. There is only a gradual change from the atmosphere, as shown in this drawing. Therefore the giant planets do not have layers, as the earth-like planets do. Ice...more

The Structure of Neptune's Interior

There is no surface to the giant planets. There is only a gradual change from the atmosphere, as shown in this drawing. Therefore the giant planets do not have layers, as the earth-like planets do. Ice...more

Clues to Plate Movements

Many kinds of surface features are clues to a sliding lithosphere. Two types of features can form when plates move apart. At ocean ridges, the crust splits apart to make room for molten mantle rock. Continental...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF