Venus's Surface was Covered with Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Ocean

By Peter R - 31 Dec '14 13:29PM

Venus's surface may have been covered in oceans of carbon dioxide during the planet's early history, a new study claims.

According to Discovery News, carbon dioxide could have existed in a super critical state for 100 million to 200 million years. In such a state, carbon dioxide would exhibit properties of both liquids and gas. On Venus, the ocean would have appeared as bubbles of gas covered by a thick layer of liquid. Studies in the past have shown that the planet's atmosphere contained enough water to cover its surface with an 80 feet deep ocean. However the new study claims the oceans may have actually been made of carbon dioxide.

Venus's atmosphere consists of 96.5 percent carbon dioxide while the clouds are made from sulphuric acid.

Given the high atmospheric pressures after the formative years of Venus, supercritical carbon dioxide could have dramatically changed characteristics from being gas like to liquid like. This in turn could have affected the surface formations.

"This in turn makes it plausible that geological features on Venus like rift valleys, riverlike beds, and plains are the fingerprints of near-surface activity of liquid-like supercritical carbon dioxide," said Dima Bolmatov, a theoretical physicist at Cornell University, according to UPI.

Substances enter supercritical state under high pressure and temperature conditions. Currently, the atmosphere pressure of Venus is said to be 90 times higher than Earth. That notwithstanding, Venus is described as Earth's twin given similarities in size, mass and distance from the sun.

The findings of the study were published Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

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