Brown University

Skip to Navigation

Student Research: Thick lithosphere casts doubt on plate tectonics in Venus’s geologically recent past

February 1, 2021

At some point between 300 million and 1 billion years ago, a cosmic object smashed into the planet Venus, leaving a crater more than 170 miles in diameter. A team of Brown University researchers, including doctoral student Evan Bjonnes, has used the ancient impact scar to explore the possibility that Venus once had Earth-like plate tectonics. For a study published in Nature Astronomy, the researchers used computer models to recreate the impact that carved out Mead crater, Venus’s largest impact basin. Mead is surrounded by two clifflike faults — rocky ripples frozen in time after the basin-forming impact. Read more.