Navigation Menu
popup category descriptions

News Release June 21, 2001
GSA Release No. 01-23
Contact: Christa Stratton

Venus Holds Clues To Finding Earth's Platinum And Diamonds

Venus is key to understanding what the early Earth was like during the late Archaean and early Proterozoic when precious resources were formed. While modern Venus is in a quiet state most of the time, is does enter into short periods of intense volcanic activity where the old surface of Venus is destroyed and a new one is created. In its early history when life evolved, Earth worked in a similar way to modern Venus.

Ghail will present his research, "A Venus Analogue of Catastrophic Mantle Overturns on Precambrian Earth," at the Earth Systems Processes conference on Wednesday, June 27, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Geological Society of America and the Geological Society of London will co-convene the June 24-28 meeting.

Ghail's research has focused on understanding how Venus works during its prolonged quiet state. (But there is still considerable activity during these relatively quiet periods.)

"I realized that there is a similarity between Venus and the early Earth because both situations involve buoyant lithosphere (unlike modern Earth, which is able to subduct its lithosphere)," he said. "I will argue that, from the evidence from Venus, the early Earth did not have modern plate tectonics, but did have something that looked similar to it, which explains the confusing evidence from the geological record."

Ghail will also assert that since this situation is unstable on Venus today, that the early Earth was the same way. Geologic evidence such as bursts in continental growth and some apparently global outpourings of komatiite (very high temperature) lavas support this idea.

His presentation is an assimilation of his and other scientists' varied observations which explain several unanswered questions in the geology of the early Earth.


During the Earth System Processes meeting, June 25-28, contact the GSA/GSL Newsroom at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre for assistance and to arrange for interviews: +44 (0) 131 519 4134

Ted Nield, GSL Science and Communications Officer
Ann Cairns, GSA Director of Communications

The abstract for this presentation is available at:

Post-meeting contact information:

Richard Ghail
Research Associate, Planetary Science
T.H. Huxley School, Imperial College
London, UK
Phone: 44 20 759 46436

Ted Nield
Geological Society of London
+44 (0) 20 7434 9944

Ann Cairns
Geological Society of America
+01 303 447 2020 ext. 1156

To view other Earth System Processes press releases, see

top top

  Home Page | Privacy | Contact Us

© The Geological Society of America, Inc.  

GSA Home Page Contact Us Frequently Asked Questions Site Search Site Map About GSA Member Services Publications Services Meetings & Excursions Sections Online Newsroom GSA For Students Geology & Public Policy Grants, Awards & Medals Employment Opportunities GeoMart Education & Teacher Resources Internships & Mentor Programs GSA Store Online Journals Join GSA Donate Now!