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Rocky Planet Interiors

by: Alyssa Hendrixson

Rocky Planet Interiors AY 101

Alyssa Hendrixson
GPA 3.0
Introduction to Astronomy
Dean Martin Townsley

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About this Document

Introduction to Astronomy
Dean Martin Townsley
Class Notes
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Popular in Introduction to Astronomy

Popular in Physics 2

This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alyssa Hendrixson on Friday February 13, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to AY 101 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Dean Martin Townsley in Winter2015. Since its upload, it has received 87 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Astronomy in Physics 2 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 02/13/15
AY 101 Lecture Notes Friday February 13 2015 Rocky Planet Interiors 0 The Rocky Planets and the Moon 0 Though all formed in similar way and composed of similar material the roclq planets39 surfaces and atmospheres differ remarkably 0 Mercury and moon heavily cratered compared to others 0 Interior Structure 0 Core Highdensity mostly metal central region Mantle Moderate density rocky material Lithosphere solid portion of mantle and crust Crust Lowdensity solid crystalline rocks at surface This structure was created by differentiation sinking of denser materials when planets were young and hot 0 Inner regions thick viscous liquid 0 Geological Activity 0 Geological activity is driven by the movement of Heat from the interior of the planet 0 Sources of heat formation collisions differentiation sinking of heavy stuff Radioactive decay o Convective action can melt and move crust creating evidence of quotactivequot surface geology volcanoes lava flows 0 Planet Size and Cooling 0 Smaller planets cool faster because they have more surface per vmume o This is why Mercury and the Moon have such thick lithospheres solid outside layer Cratering and geological activity 0 Craters accumulate as asteroids and comets hit planetary surface 0 Geological activity erases craters due to lava ows crustal movement and erosion 0 Period of heavy bombardment occurred as the outer planets were clearing their orbits 0 Mercury and the Moon still show so many craters because they are geologically quotdeadquot 0 Moon and Mercury 0 Mercury and the Moon still show so many craters because they are geologically quotdeadquot 0 Some portions of the Moon still have craters from the heavy bombardment 4 billion years ago 0 Will soon learn much more about the interior of Mercury from the messenger probe currently in orbit Mars 0 Current Martian Surface OOOO AY 101 Lecture Notes Cratering only in south surface in north renewed by geological activity Many large volcanoes still partially geologically active No liquid water thick water ice at poles and subsurface water Ice Surface of polar ice we see is largely C02 quotdry icequot 0 Ancient Liquid water Multiple evidence of longOlived liquid surface water 0 Geological features erosion Rock shapes and forms 0 Rock compositions But all from billions of years ago Mar s climate changed dramatically about 3 billion years ago 0 The changing of Mars Young Internally Hot Mars 0 heat caused convection in core along with rotation gave strong magnetic eld magnetic eld protected the atmosphere from Solar wind more outgassing from crust thicker atmosphere gave higher temperature greenhouse effect and more pressure Older Internally Cooler Mars Cooling caused convection to cease loss of magnetic eld atmosphere stripped away by solar wind less outgassing loss of greenhouse effect caused colder surface 0 Venus geological activity 0 Venus almost same mass as earth should cool on a similar timescale and have similar outgassing Entire surface was renewed about 750 million years ago Plenty of evidence of volcanic activity No erosion no water no wind due to slow rotation No plate tectonics mysterious very different from Earth 0 Atmosphere Much thicker than Earth Mostly carbon dioxide C02 Almost no water Strong greenhouse effect Same outgassing as Earth Why so different Closer to sun means no liquid water too hot 0 Liquid water is necessary to remove carbon from atmosphere 0 Slow rotation gives small magnetic eld more exposure to solar effects Ultraviolet light can destroy water 0 Unique earth AY 101 Lecture Notes 0 Atmospheres Mars thin C02 atmosphere frozen water Venus thick C02 atmosphere no water Earth Nitrogen and Oxygen Earth 0 Oxygen is very unusual because it is easily captured on rocks 0 Oxygen must be continuously replenished by Earth39s plant life 0 Most carbon thus C02 is removed by presence of liquid water stored in rocks


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