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⇀Astronomy 1021↼

Chapter 7:

➣Planetary Geology and Atmosphere:


• Terrestrial planets
– Interior
– Surface
– Atmosphere
• Earth as example

➣Seismic Waves:
• Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, etc.
• Most direct
• Density structure

➣Seismic Waves on Moon:


• Seismic monitors on the Moon
• “Moonquakes” and meteor impacts detected

➣Other Interior Measurements:


• Gravitational field
• Magnetic field
• Volcanic rocks

➣Three Interior Regions:


Most Dense⇣
• Core
• Mantle
• Crust
• Lithosphere
Least Dense⇡

➣Differentiation:
• High-density material “sinks” to center
• Lower-density material “floats” to surface
• Indicates molten past

➣Internal Heat:
• Collapse
– Gravitational potential energy converted to thermal energy
– Bigger objects take longer to cool
• Radioactivity
– Most
important
heat source
today

➣Effects of Eternal Heating:


• Liquid part of core
• Moving charged particles
• Magnetic field
– Not a bar magnet!
– Protection
– Aurora

➣Cooling Processes:
• Convection
• Conduction
• Radiation

➣Terrestrial Planet Interior:


• Mercury: large core – surface ripped off
• Moon: tiny core – made from Earth’s surface

➣Geological Activity:
• Planetary surface changes
• Primary driver: internal heat
• Four major processes

1. Impact Cratering:
• Craters ten times wider than object that made them
• Small craters greatly outnumber large ones
• Tremendous explosion

➣Torino Scale:
• Assessing asteroid and comet impact hazard predictions
• Certain collisions:
– 8 localized destruction: once every 50-1000 years
– 9 regional destruction: once per 10,000-100,000 years
– 10 global devastation: once every 100,000 years

2. Volcanism:
• Molten rock (magma)
• Erupts through lithosphere
• Lava on surface

➣Volcanism Types:
• Volcanic plains (Moon)
• Tall but not steep shield volcanos (Hawaiian islands; Mars’ Olympus Mons)
• Tall, steep stratovolcanos (Mount Hood)

➣Outgassing:
• Release of trapped gas
• Originally trapped from comet and asteroid collisions
• Replenish atmospheres

3. Tectonic Forces
• Mantle convection causes stresses in crust
• Compression forces make mountain ranges
– E.g., Himalayas
• Valley can form where crust is pulled apart
– E.g., Red Sea

4. Erosion: Breakdown:
Erosion: Build Up:
• Selenga river delta in Asia
• Sand dune encroachment in Bahariya oasis of Egypt's western desert

➣Atmosphere:
• Weather and erosion
• 77% N , 21% O , trace (argon, water vapour, other gases)
2 2
• O and O
2 3
• Warmth due to greenhouse gases
• Thin (>99.9% within 100 km)

➣Moon and Mercury:

• Mercury 40% larger than the Moon

• Internal heat lost long ago

• No outgassing
• Ancient volcanic and tectonic activity

➣Footprints and Track Tires:

• Will remain for millions of years


• Micro-meteorites
will eventually erode

➣Exaggerated Moon Colours:


• Due to different composition
• “Light” zones
• Heavily cratered
• Dark, smooth zones: lunar maria

➣Lunar Maria:
• Formed by floods of lava
• Note: Moon’s interior cooled and is likely solid

➣Water Ice:

• On Moon and Mercury

• In permanently-shadowed craters near poles


• Future colonies?

➣Mercury’s Shrinkage:
• Scarps: long cliffs indicate that Mercury shrank
➣Mercury: Caloris Basin

• Huge (1350km diameter) impact crater


• Antipode: seismic wave and ejecta convergence

➣Summary on Moon and Mercury:

• Lunar highlands: 4.4 billion years old


• Lunar maria: volcanic plains, 3.0 - 3.9 billion years old
• Mercury: steep cliffs implies shrinkage
• The Moon and Mercury are “geologically dead”

➣Mars in 2016:

• Mars gets closer to and further from us, as we both orbit around the Sun
• Opposition: planet is “opposite” the Sun in the sky (planet appears largest)

➣Mars vs Earth:
Similarities to Earth:

• Surface
• Ice caps
• Day length
• Seasons
Differences from Earth:
• <1% of Earth’s atmosphere
• Much colder than earth (global average -50C)
• No oxygen; no ozone

➣Martian Dust Storms:


• Dust storms can be global!
• 30-day sequence above shows light dimming for one of the Martian rovers

➣Martian Topography:
• Less craters in Northern Hemisphere (lava plains; younger) than in Southern Hemisphere
(highlands; older)

1. Olympus mons and Tharsis Bulge:


Martian volcanoes:

• Mount Olympus (or Olympus


Mons, in Latin)

– Shield volcano 22 km high


• Tharsis– Includes
Bulge
three more shield volcanoes: Arsia Mons, Pavonis Mons and Ascraeus Mons

2. Valles Marineris:

• Mariner Valley (or Valles Marineris in Latin)

– 4000 km long

– 200 km wide
– 7 km deep

➣Geology:

•• Mars is not quite geologically dead today


Mars wasn’t always like the cold desert it is today…

➣Ancient Water on Mars:


• Dried-up water features
• Crater features
• Mineral evidence from robotic rovers
“Wet” Minerals:
• “Blueberries” made of

– hematite (generally formed in water) and


– goethite (only formed in water)

➣Water Today?
• Certainly in ice

– Ice caps

– Crater floors
• Sub-surface water streaks

– Confirmed 2015

– Seasonal
– Contain hydrated salts

➣A Charged Mars:
• Warmer, wetter  colder, dryer?
• Mars is smaller than Earth

– Gravity is lower

– Cools quicker
– Water vapour broken down

– Hydrogen escapes to space


– Oxygen rusts rocks

➣Summary of Martian Geology:

• Evidence for all four geological processes;

• Evidence for wetter and warmer Mars until 2-3 billion years ago
• Water ice very much still present

➣Geological Comparison to Earth:

• Similarities to Earth

– Volcanos

– Impact craters

– Tectonic forces (but not plate tectonics)

• Differences from Earth


– No erosion

➣Why so Hot?
• Venus is much hotter than the Earth not
because it’s closer to the Sun
• Venus is much hotter because of a runaway greenhouse effect

➣Earth’s Four Unique Features:


1. Surface liquid water
2. Atmospheric oxygen and ozone
3. Plate tectonics
4. Climate stability

➣Ozone:
• Absorbs harmful-to-human UV radiation
• Depleted by human-produced CFCs

➣Greenhouse Gases:
• Not just carbon dioxide
• 18 degrees not +15
• Sunlight warms surface
• Planet radiates IR
• IR absorbed by atmosphere

➣Climate Change 101:


• Global temperatures are rising

– Data is available for anyone and everyone

– Reproducibility: different data sets agree

• Sea levels are rising

– Past century: 1.8 mm/year


– Since satellite era: 2.8-3.1 mm/year

➣Three Important Numbers:


• 2 degrees Celsius
• 565 gigatons of CO
2
• 2,795 gigatons of CO
2