Did large volcanic channel systems develop on Earth during the Hadean and Archean?

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Abstract

The vestiges of large volcanic channels are preserved at the surfaces of the Moon, Venus, Mercury, Mars, and Io. The largest of these systems have widths of tens of kilometers and lengths of thousands of kilometers. Component channels were incised by voluminous low-viscosity lava flows, and are the surface expressions of magmatic systems that helped to dissipate internal heat accumulated through processes of accretion, differentiation, tidal interactions, and radioactive decay. Past development of large volcanic channels on these bodies suggests the possible formation of analogous systems on the Earth during the Hadean or Archean, a time frame of heightened internal temperatures and eruption of low-viscosity magmas. More generally, the geological record of the inner solar system suggests a predisposition of all rocky planets for early incision of large volcanic channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-239
Number of pages14
JournalPrecambrian Research
Volume246
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Archean
  • Channel
  • Earth
  • Hadean
  • Lava

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