Venus (and Earth) Resurfaced in a Single Catastrophic Event?
David Grinspoon is a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Principal Investigator for NASA’s Exobiology Research Program and author of “Venus Revealed” and “Lonely Planets.” He made some interesting statements about the planet Venus in an interview with Astrobiology Magazine. I find them quite interesting because Grinspoon’s statements about what happened on Venus bear a strong resemblance in several important ways to the two leading creationist theories which attempt to explain earth’s present geologic features: Catastrophic Plate Tectonics (CPT) advocated by Dr. John Baumgardner, and the Hydroplate Theory (HPT) advocated by Dr. Walter Brown). I will quote Grinspoon at length, but note the key points to be gleaned from his statements:
1) Magellan scientists were surprised to find that the surface of Venus appears to be all the same age
2) The older surface of the planet was wiped out by massive volcanism, so possibly 90% of it’s supposed 4.5 billion year history is unknown
3) Grinspoon talks about possible heat buildup inside Venus to a critical point at which a “rapid overturning” takes place
4) All three of the above features are very close to what is postulated by CPT and HPT above
Some excerpts from the interview with Grinspoon …
DG: Yeah, perhaps around that time. Now, fast forward to more recent times on Venus. We’ve begun to understand the story of its surface evolution largely due to the Magellan mission in the 1990s. The biggest surprise of Magellan was that the surface seems like it’s all the same age. That’s what I’m calling the second great transition. Something changed on Venus 600 or 700 million years ago to make the surface all the same age. If you use the word catastrophic it rubs some people the wrong way, but something dramatic happened on Venus which wiped out almost all signs of an older surface. The planet got re-paved, basically, 600 or 700 million years ago.
AM: Did some huge impact melt the surface? Or was it the last gasp of volcanic activity?
DG: Clearly, whatever this second great transition was, it involved massive amounts of volcanism. You can see these flows that appear to be flood basalts all over, covering 80 percent of the planet. The remarkable thing is that they seem to be all the same age. The crater density is relatively uniform and random around the planet. So the planet seems to have been flooded with basaltic lavas in a geologically short period of time, simultaneously around the planet.
Now, you talk to some geologists and they argue with that and they say, well, it wasn’t simultaneous. But looking at the map of craters on Venus, all of them seem relatively pristine, and there are no older ones. You can’t escape the conclusion that something dramatic changed on Venus at that time that had the effect of re-paving the surface.
AM: So either something occurred at that time, or something that had been going on stopped.
DG: Right, exactly. Either there was an episode of resurfacing that started and stopped rather quickly, or there was an ongoing process resurfacing the planet that suddenly ground to a halt for some reason.
Notice also Grinspoon’s comments about Plate Tectonics …
Earth’s tectonic activity acts as a cooling mechanism for the interior. If Venus has episodic plate tectonics, where nothing happens for a while, the heat builds up in the interior. Eventually it can’t stand it any more, and you have this rapid overturning. Then it’s quiescent for a while, and the heat builds up again. If you believe that episodic model, then the visible surface we see on Venus is the record of the last time that happened, which is maybe 600 million years ago.
Read the entire article HERE. Thanks to David Coppedge who works in the Cassini program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and writes for the Institute for Creation Research for pointing out Grinspoon’s work HERE.
One final note: Few people realize that the originator of Plate Tectonics was in the Catastrophist School, not the Gradualist School of geological thought. ICR writes …
In 1859 Antonio Snider proposed that rapid, horizontal divergence of crustal plates occurred during Noah’s Flood. … One of the last holdouts for flood geology was a little-known work published by Antonio Snider-Pellegrini  – ironically enough the same year Darwin published the Origin of Species. Intrigued by the reasonably good fit between land masses on either side of the Atlantic ocean, Snider proposed that the earth’s crust was composed of rigid plates which had moved horizontally with respect to one another. Snider may have been the first to propose some of the main elements of modern plate tectonics theory. Snider also proposed that the horizontal divergence had been rapid and had occurred during Noah’s Flood. It appears, then, that the first elaboration of plate tectonics theory was presented in the context of catastrophic flood geology. It also seems that a substantial amount of the twentieth century opposition to plate tectonics was due to the fact that geologists were, by then, firmly predisposed to believe that the earth’s crust was horizontally fixed. The catastrophism school of geology was the first to propose plate tectonics; the gradualist school was the first major opponent to plate tectonics. However, by the time plate tectonics was finally accepted in the United States in the late 1960s, gradualism had become a part of plate tectonics theory as well. Rather than Snider’s rapid horizontal motion on the scale of weeks or months, modern geology accepted a plate tectonics theory with horizontal motion on the scale of tens to hundreds of millions of years. (A. Snider-Pellegrini, La Creation et ses Mysteres Devoiles, 1859 [early release, 1858], A. Franck et E. Dentu, Paris.) http://www.icr.org/research/index/researchp_as_platetectonicsl/
Conclusion: If our “sister” planet Venus experienced a catastrophic resurfacing event, then it is reasonable to propose that earth also experienced such an event. Earth scientists should quit laughing at Baumgardner and Brown with their catastrophic theories, abandon their own unlikely gradualist theories, and join the search for just the right catastrophist theory. Hopefully more of them will in coming years.
I’m no earth scientist, but I’m currently debating the merits of the HPT at the Internet Infidels Forum HERE. Come join the fun!