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Venus Thermal History - Windows to the Universe

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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.
This is an image of Venus.
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The Cooling of Venus

The following may be the history of Venus.

  • Venus formed about 4 Billion Years ago.
  • at the conclusion of forming it continued to be bombarded with leftover material. Many planets still bear the remains of this activity by showing many craters on the surface. Activity on the surface can act to change the craters.
  • Venus warmed from inside, and separated into layers. Because Venus is close to the sun, the atmosphere formed differently than did the Earth's, as sugggested by the Goldilocks idea.
  • After that, Venus started cooling down. The crust began to thicken, just like jello hardens when it is being made. The hardening crust prevented continental drift. This also prevented the recycling of the atmosphere.
  • Despite the thick crust, surface activity, including volcanism, may continue to this day as Venus continues to cool.

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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