Lowlands to Highlands: A Hunters Wanderings

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Some researchers have even speculated that perhaps extremophile-like life forms may have evolved there. The interplanetary meteorite conveyer belt, described in Chapter 3, also allows for the very remote possibility that life on the Earth and in the rest of the Solar System was seeded from Venus. No Venusian meteorite, however, has so far been recognized among the many tens of thousands of meteorites that have been collected on the Earth.

At the turn of the twentieth century, astronomers generally believed that Venus had a surface temperature and climate similar to that of the Earth. The combined effects, however, of the greater solar energy flux and higher atmospheric reflectivity seemed to cancel each other out, and consequently, Venus was theoretically heated to about the same temperature as the Earth. It was further speculated that the dense Venusian atmosphere was caused by and shrouded a vast global ocean as so wonderfully described by C. Lewis , and later, the observation that the Venusian atmosphere was CO2 dominated led famed planetary astronomers Fred Whipple and Donald Menzel to further suggest that the veiled planet was washed over by a global soda-water ocean.

The desert-like picture of the surface of Venus continued well into the late s recall Figure 3.

Signed. LOWLANDS TO HIGHLANDS. A Hunter's Wanderings. Hamish Skead

By the close of the s, it was clear that Venus was truly a dead world. Images of the Venusian surface obtained by the Russian space agency's Venera landers Figure 7. In some images Venera 13 and 14 the surface rocks sit upon a flat basaltic plain, while in others Venera 9 the rocks sit upon an apparently worn and weather-stained surface of soil and gravel. Radar altimetry measurements obtained with the NASA Pioneer Venus Orbiter and Magellan spacecraft revealed the first detailed topological maps of the Venusian surface Figure 7.

These maps indicated that Venus has a surprisingly smooth and geologically young surface. Ishatar has an area similar to that of Australia and is mostly some 3 km higher in altitude than the mean planetary radius.


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It is bordered by numerous mountain chains, and at its. The Himalayas and the 8-km-high Chomolungma were produced on the Earth by tectonic activity, specifically through the collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian one, but no such plate motion is evident on Venus, and accordingly it is generally thought that the Maxwell Montes are supported by the vigorous convection associated with a fixed hot spot in the planet's mantle.

The Terraforming of Venus - Life in Solar System - Fossil Hunters

Long, narrow linear features, called chasmas, that cover great swaths of the Venusian surface are also interpreted in terms of strong mantle convection effects. It is not entirely clear why no large-scale tectonic plate activity ever developed on Venus, but it is generally thought that the lack of water in its thick outer crust and the high surface temperature all combined to make for a surface that cracks more easily than that on the Earth. Rather than producing a few large tectonic plates that slowly move around, as on the Earth, the Venusian plates are presumed to have broken into many small pieces as a result of crustal cracking.

The Venusian lowlands, or Planitiae, are geologically young, featureless regions that appear to have formed through geologically recent large-scale basaltic flooding.

These regions indicate, therefore, that extensive volcanism has shaped, and continues to shape, the surface of Venus. Indeed, the Magellan spacecraft radar survey. The Venusian volcano Sif Mons.


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Named after the wife of the Norse god Thor, Sif Mons stands some 2-km high and is about 95 km across at its base. A series of dark and light lava flows extend away from its summit. The image was created from the radar survey data gathered by the Magellan spacecraft. Image courtesy of NASA. River-like features have also been imaged at radar wavelengths on the planet's surface, and while they cannot be the result of running liquid water it is thought that they might be produced by a fluid derived from the mineral carbonatite, which has a melting point just below that of the planet's surface temperature.

In addition, the spacecraft surveys also revealed that all of the Venusian terrain having an altitude greater than about 2 km is highly reflective at radar wavelengths. This odd and unexpected effect is thought to be due to a snow-capping effect, not of ice but of elements such as tellurium Te and iron pyrites FeS —more commonly known as fool's gold on the Earth—and a lead-based bismuth sulfide PbS , which are able to condense at the temperatures and pressures that prevail above the 2-km altitude mark. It generally contains the shortest road around the realm.

The highlands can generally be distinguished from midlands mainly by the presence of coniferous trees. Coniferous trees grow in the highlands instead of the broadleaf trees that are found in the lowlands and midlands. Highland deserts can be marked by the appearance of prickly pear cacti rather than columnar cacti. Because of random enemy wandering and the gradual transition between different terrain types, it is often difficult to tell the difference between the areas.

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It seems like you have disabled javascript. The site uses it extensively, so expect a much degraded experience! Terrain High Forest Features green grass and coniferous green trees. It has occasional shrubbery and many white flowers.

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The enemies found here are often High Forest type. High Plains Features grey-green grass, practically no trees, and occasional shrubbery. The enemies found here are often High Plains type. High Forest Plains Features yellow grass and coniferous trees.