Inevitability of Plate Tectonics on Super-Earths

  title={Inevitability of Plate Tectonics on Super-Earths},
  author={Diana Valencia and Richard J. O'Connell and Dimitar D. Sasselov Earth and Planetary Sciences and Harvard University and Harvard--Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics},
  journal={The Astrophysical Journal},
The recent discovery of super-Earths (masses ≤ ) has initiated a discussion about conditions for habitable 10 M worlds. Among these is the mode of convection, which influences a planet’s thermal evolution and surface conditions. On Earth, plate tectonics has been proposed as a necessary condition for life. Here we show that super-Earths will also have plate tectonics. We demonstrate that as planetary mass increases, the shear stress available to overcome resistance to plate motion increases… Expand

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