On the terrestrial stage, plate tectonics is an important a part of Earth’s evolution.
The crust and the higher mantle type the lithosphere: fragmented right into a sequence of plates.
These plates collide, transfer aside, uplift and subdivide, creating varied floor options.
From mountain formation to volcanic island chains to ocean spreading, plate tectonics impacts Earth on a worldwide scale.
Continental drift creates and breaks up supercontinents many occasions all through historical past.
However is the Earth distinctive? No different recognized planet has plate tectonics.
Mars is a single-plate planet, permitting Olympus Mons to type.
With a stationary uniplate and a sizzling spot beneath, Olympus Mons is the most important planetary volcano.
Mercury misplaced most of its mantle early on, after cooling to type a strong single-plate planet.
However Venus, which is nearly the scale and mass of Earth with comparable inside warmth, additionally has just one plate.
Though nonetheless volcanically lively, Venus’ floor is deforming, however not sinking.
The Earth owes its tectonic uniqueness to the big floor oceans, with clues discovered elsewhere.
Europa, Jupiter’s ice-covered moon, exhibits proof of ice plate tectonics.
Subduction and upwelling of liquid beneath the floor happens there, with related exercise doable on Pluto.
Liquid water will be the key.
The interior warmth and lubricating results of water, mixed, seemingly allow the sinking and sliding plates of the Earth.
Largely Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in footage, visuals and not more than 200 phrases. Speak much less; smile extra.