Several decades ago, the Pioneer Venus mission allowed researchers to learn valuable data about Venus, including the fact that oceans were present on the surface at some point. Other missions have gathered more information about the atmosphere and surface of the planet. By harnessing this data researchers theorized how Venus transitioned from being a habitable planet to the savage place which is known today.
The process started almost 700 million years ago when a large-scale resurfacing process led to an uncontrolled greenhouse effect which forced the atmosphere to become very dense and hot. It is inferred that within the two or three million years after the formation, the planet may have offered the conditions which were necessary for the existence of life.
A team of researchers created a study which explores the manner in which the climate of Venus evolved in time. The team created a series of simulations which took into account how the environment of the planet may have changed according to various levels of water coverage. The task involved the need to enhance a 3D general circulation model which was used as a base
Three of five simulations were based on a topology which is similar to the current one, and they suggest that the depth of the oceans may have varied from 10 meters (or approximately 30 feet) to 310 meters (or almost 1000 feet) with a minimal amount being locked in the soil. All the simulations led to the same ending.
A series of events forced a massive resurface, allowing the carbon dioxide caught within the crust to escape and leading to massive climate change. It is theorized that if the resurface events wouldn’t have happened, the planet would have been habitable today.
During the resurface events massive amounts of magma found their way to the surface, accompanied by carbon dioxide. The magma becomes solid before reaching the surface, blocking the absorption of the notorious greenhouse gas.
Justin R. Harris was a reporter for Tech Life, before becoming the lead editor. Justin has over fifty bylines and has reported on countless stories concerning all things related to technology.