"The heat required goes far beyond anything we expect from human-induced climate change, but things like volcanic activity and changes in the sun's luminosity could lead to this level of heating," said lead author Adrian Lenardic, associate professor of Earth science at
Lenardic said the research team wanted to better understand the differences between the Earth and Venus and establish the potential range of conditions that could exist on Earth-like planets beyond the solar system. ….The findings may explain why Venus evolved differently from Earth. The two planets are close in size and geological makeup, but Venus' carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere is almost 100 times more dense than the Earth's and acts like a blanket. As a result, Venus' surface temperature is hotter than that of even Mercury, which is twice as close to the sun.
…"We found the Earth's plate tectonics could become unstable if the surface temperature rose by 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more for a few million years," Lenardic said. "The time period and the rise in temperatures, while drastic for humans, are not unreasonable on a geologic scale, particularly compared to what scientists previously thought would be required to affect a planet's geodynamics."….
A portion of western Eistla Regio on Venus, in three-dimensional perspective view. …Simulated color and a digital elevation map developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, are used to enhance small-scale structure. The simulated hues are based on color images recorded by the Soviet Venera 13 and 14 spacecraft. The image was produced at the JPL Multimission Image Processing Laboratory and is a single frame from a video released at the March 5, 1991, JPL news conference. NASA/JPL, Wikimedia Commons