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Venus Holds Clues To Finding Earth's Platinum And Diamonds

It's a little cooler after sunset
Edinburgh - June 27, 2001
Venus is key to understanding what the early Earth was like during the late Archaean and early Proterozoic when precious resources were formed. While modern Venus is in a quiet state most of the time, is does enter into short periods of intense volcanic activity where the old surface of Venus is destroyed and a new one is created. In its early history when life evolved, Earth worked in a similar way to modern Venus.

"By understanding the 'early Earth,' we can predict where to find precious resources such as platinum and diamonds," explained Dr. Richard Ghail, a Research Associate at the Imperial College in London. "We can also tell what aided life to appear on Earth, which will help us to seek evidence for life elsewhere."

Ghail will present his research, "A Venus Analogue of Catastrophic Mantle Overturns on Precambrian Earth," at the Earth Systems Processes conference on Wednesday, June 27, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Geological Society of America and the Geological Society of London will co-convene the June 24-28 meeting.

Ghail's research has focused on understanding how Venus works during its prolonged quiet state. (But there is still considerable activity during these relatively quiet periods.)

"I realized that there is a similarity between Venus and the early Earth because both situations involve buoyant lithosphere (unlike modern Earth, which is able to subduct its lithosphere)," he said.

"I will argue that, from the evidence from Venus, the early Earth did not have modern plate tectonics, but did have something that looked similar to it, which explains the confusing evidence from the geological record."

Ghail will also assert that since this situation is unstable on Venus today, that the early Earth was the same way. Geologic evidence such as bursts in continental growth and some apparently global outpourings of komatiite (very high temperature) lavas support this idea.

His presentation is an assimilation of his and other scientists' varied observations which explain several unanswered questions in the geology of the early Earth.

Related Links
Imperial College London
Geological Society of London
Geological Society of America
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Math Program Cracks Cause of Venus Hell Hole
Pasadena - March 12, 2001
A mathematical model of the surface of Venus could show how the hot, dry surface has reacted to changes in temperature throughout the planet's history.

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