Surfaces main content.

Surfaces

Surfaces_HERO AMNH/D. Finnin

Exhibition Text

Many forces shape the solid surfaces of planets and moons. Initially hot, some of these surfaces fractured as they cooled, creating great chasms. Impacts produce craters and can release molten flows beneath the surface. On Earth, continental plates move continuously, forming ocean basins and mountains. Water, ice, wind, and volcanoes both erode and create surface features.

Universality
planets and processes
Many of the physical processes that operate on Earth are found throughout the solar system. The same laws of physics apply to planets, stars, and galaxies throughout the universe.

For Educators

Topic: Astronomy

Subtopic: Planets

Keywords: Astrophysics, Erosion, Satellites, Moon--Surface, Planets--Surfaces

Audience: General

Surfaces

Many forces shape the solid surfaces of planets and moons. Initially hot, some of these surfaces fractured as they cooled, creating great chasms. Impacts produce craters and can release molten flows beneath the surface. On Earth, continental plates move continuously, forming ocean basins and mountains. Water, ice, wind, and volcanoes both erode and create surface features.

Example Surfaces

Example Surfaces