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As a young man smoking a lot of land
The land has always tried to go public. Yes, the other stone of the planet, too, grew as a person, but other than the Earth, no one has achieved such attention. She collected a special set of accessories that make it attractive for Life: vast oceans, protective magnetic shield and oxygen-rich atmosphere.
She raised the tectonic plates that produce new segments of the crust in some places and the old stuffing back into the hot mantle, forming mountains and shifting continents. This cooled the Earth as it is growing up – and strongly influenced the evolution of her devotees billion inhabitants. But for a long time no one could understand how the Earth formed its tectonics, and all the evidence had been buried under the ground.
Then came Io. A small moon of Jupiter is covered with active volcanoes, which transfer heat from the inside to the surface without tectonic plates. This process can be the key to how the young Earth increased its tough outer skin, and then smashed it on the moving parts.
“In the beginning the Earth was a bit of a magma ocean. All the planets seem to have gone through this process, “- says William Moore of the University of Gemptona in Virginia. – “How the Earth was formed out of it? Immediately to the tectonic plates or had periods of something else? “.
Io can be answered. The tiny moon loses its heat through the heat pipe, the volcanic plumbing system that remove the hot magma to the surface through a relatively narrow channels. The lava cools as the spread, forming a new layer of bark, which was later covered by fresh eruptions. Over time, the heat pipes create a thick layer of the upper crust, which Io is strong enough to withstand the high mountains more than 20 miles away.
Moore and his colleague Alexander Webb of the University of Louisiana in Baton Rouge tried to recreate iopodobnye heat pipes on the early Earth to take a look at what the breed was created and how would behave bark to the extent that, as the planet cooled. They compared the results with the oldest known rocks on Earth, including diamonds age 3 billion years, and zirconium age 4.3 billion years old, which store signs that the weathered material on the surface, and then went deep into the earth and crystallized.
Scientists have found enough links to suggest that about 3.2 billion years ago the Earth emit excess heat via heat pipes as Io, which were scattered in several regions. In the end, the Earth has cooled down enough to heat pipes were closed, and the hot mantle was trapped beneath the bark.
“As a result, the pressure cap is overcome by increasing the voltage under it, the lid cracks and starts the movement of tectonic plates,” – says Moore.
“I think that the whole idea loyal,” – says William McKinnon of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. – “The mechanism of heat pipes apparently controls the volcanoes of Io and its mountain building. I think that the early Earth had a similar mechanism at the stage of the magma ocean. ”
Can Io cool someday to such an extent that the tectonic plates will cover the whole thing, like the Earth? Probably not, says Moore. Rocky moon eventually cooled down enough to stop the operation of heat pipes, but not enough to break his own skin.
But the size of rocky exoplanets more than twice our planet can stay a long time in the phase of Io, because they need more time to cool down. The largest super-Earths may be in maintenance mode, the heat pipes lifelong parent star.
And in the distant future, we are waiting for the change of poles .
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Tags: Earth , Moon , Exoplanets .
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