Terrestrial, plate tectonics is an important a part of Earth’s evolution.
The crust and higher mantle kind the lithosphere: fragmented right into a collection of plates.
These plates collide, unfold aside, uplift and subduct, creating totally different floor options.
From mountain formation to volcanic island chains to oceanic spreading, plate tectonics impacts the Earth globally.
Continental drift creates and breaks up supercontinents many occasions all through historical past.
However is the Earth distinctive? No different identified planet has plate tectonics.
Mars is a single plate planet, which permits for the formation of Olympus Mons.
With an immovable uniplate and hotspot beneath it, Olympus Mons is the biggest planetary volcano.
Mercury shed most of its mantle early on, having cooled to kind a strong one-plate planet.
However Venus, which is sort of the dimensions and mass of Earth with comparable inner warmth, additionally has just one plate.
Though nonetheless volcanically lively, the floor of Venus deforms, however doesn’t stream.
The Earth owes its tectonic uniqueness to massive floor oceans, with hints discovered elsewhere.
Europa, Jupiter’s ice-covered moon, exhibits proof of ice plate tectonics.
Subduction and ascent of subsurface liquids happen right here, with comparable exercise attainable on Pluto.
Liquid water will be the key.
Inside warmth plus the lubricating results of water, mixed, doubtless permit Earth’s sliding and sliding plates.
Principally Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in photos, photographs and not more than 200 phrases. Discuss much less; smile extra.