Solar system

Do other planets know plate tectonics?

Are continents moving on other planets, as is the case on earth?

The earth may be called unique with a plate tectonics in which the plates in the earth's crust move past each other while they float on a liquid layer of molten rock. When plates rub against each other, mountain ranges such as the Himalayas can arise. One of the most important geological manifestations of plate tectonics is the formation of folds due to the collision between plates. You can hardly find those mountains anywhere in the solar system. There are slight fold mountains on Venus, but there is no trace of large-scale plate tectonics. It does seem as though Venus sometimes overthrows the entire surface, when the huge volcanic eruptions let the trapped heat escape. Mars is only half the size of the earth, and therefore has produced less radioactive heat in its core. The surface of Mars looks just like one big plate, without any sign of folds. Here too large volcanoes have let heat escape. There is, however, one large gap of 4000 kilometers along the equator, possibly a result of tectonic movements in the past. Mercury and the moon do not show any sign of plate tectonics, which is not so strange because they are only small planets. It is all the more surprising that on some large moons of Jupiter we do find signs of a kind of plate tectonics of ice. On Ganymedes there are long strips with low ridges, reminiscent of fold mountains. On the ice surface of the moon Europe we see that ice floes once floated here at sea. Water played the same role here as molten rock on earth. The heat that has changed the surface of Ganymedes and Europe comes from the forces of the tide, with which Jupiter and his four great moons influence each other.

Video: 55 Plate Tectonics 5 - History (November 2019).

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