This is an image of Venus.
Click on image for full size
Does Venus Have a Surface in Motion?
Like Mars, there is no plate tectonics on the surface of Venus. The surface of Venus does not *seem* to have changed or moved in billions of years. Unlike the case of Mars, however, careful examination of the evidence supports the idea that the surface of Venus may be active in a way that is very different from the Earth.
Evidence comes from the number of craters found on the surface. Although heavy cratering has stopped, some cratering continues to this day. The impact of the SL-9 comet shows that planets can still be hit by objects in space. Craters are wiped out when the surface of a planet moves.
The cratering record of Venus is *very* peculiar in that
- all surfaces are evenly cratered
- the number of craters is roughly the same as that of the Earth at present.
- the number of craters suggests an age for the surface of Venus of not more than 500 million years! (There are areas of Earth that are very much older.)
which suggest a lithosphere in motion are present, but few on Venus. This evidence suggests that Venus has a completely different cooling history
than that of the Earth, and the entire surface is forced to change every few hundred million years or so!
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to create and support such experiences?...more
Unlike Earth, there is no continental drift on Mars today. The Martian surface does not seem to have changed or moved in billions of years. The evidence for this fact can be found in two ways. 1.) The...more
This is a map of the surface of Venus (turned sideways!). As can be seen on the map, the surface of Venus consists of 2 large continents with mountain ranges, and a few large islands. There are many craters,...more
As the process which formed them came to an end, the planets may have been left in either of the following two states: very warm, separated into layers, with lots of water on the surface, with volcanic...more
The pieces of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 received names! However not all of the segments were detected, and some sections broke apart into two or more pieces after the original piece had been named. These...more
Over the course of time there are many things which can cause the surface of a planet to change its appearance. winds, as shown in the example from the Martian surface Monument Valley on Earth is an example...more
This is an example of cratered ground on Venus. Venusian craters are a little unusual in that there is a large amount of melted ground around the crater. This may mean that when something hits the surface...more
Let's look at the evidence: Mercury Venus The Moon Mars Io Europa Ganymede Callisto Triton Miranda What about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Titan, or Pluto? These planets or moons either have no surface,...more