Lithosphere

Ugly diamonds hold more than a billion years of Earth’s history

Cloudy and yellowish “fibrous diamonds” are too unsightly for most jewelers. But for scientists, their crystal structure holds precious secrets dating back a billion years or more. Yaakov Weiss, an Earth scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and his colleagues crushed portions of South African fibrous diamonds to extract …

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It turns out that Venus (almost) has tectonic plates

Beneath Venus’s acidic clouds and crushing atmospheric pressure lies a rocky surface strewn with geological mysteries. Sometimes referred to as Earth’s “sister planet” because it is similar in size with a similar iron core, molten mantle, and rocky crust, there is evidence that Venus was once a aquatic world like …

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Venus’s cracked surface behaves like sea ice

The Magellan spacecraft captured this radar view of Venus, showing the largest dark red tectonic block in the center, which is roughly the size of Alaska. The lighter colors around the block are warps and ridges. Image via NASA-JPL / Paul Byrne / NCSU. Cracked surface of Venus Venus is …

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The surface of Venus could be shattered into pieces

No other solid body in the solar system has an Earth-like crust. From Mercury to Mars, passing through many moons, most worlds have a one-piece crust. Rather, our planet has tectonics, large plates moving across the molten upper mantle. Another exception to the one-piece surface could be Venus, new evidence …

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