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By Giuseppe Bertin

A whole and self-contained creation to trendy galactic dynamics for graduate scholars.

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Where plates come apart, as at midocean ridges, new crust or surface is created. To balance the creation of the new surface, plates are destroyed at subduction zones, like the Marianas trench near Japan, where they are pushed down into the interior of Earth. Mid-ocean ridges produce relatively quiet-natured volcanism, while subduction zones can produce very explosive volcanism, as at Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines, or large earthquakes, as in Japan. The third type of plate boundary is where two plates slide past one another, as along the Paci®c Plate± North American Plate boundary in California, better known as the San Andreas Fault.

The largest one, Artemis Corona, is over 1,000 km across. Coronae are thought to be produced when a plume or perhaps a blob of hot material rises from deep with the planet, bulging up the surface, similar to the process that forms the Hawaiian islands. I studied these features for my PhD thesis. Tesserae are high plateau-like regions cut by fractures and ridges trending in every direction. Their complex fracture patterns reminded the Russian scientists who ®rst identi®ed them of the parquet ¯oors in their institute; this was later formalized into tesserae (tiles in Latin).

At about this time, two Soviet spacecraft, Veneras 15 and 16, were sent on their way to Venus. These two spacecraft mapped the northern quarter of Venus in 1984 and 1985. Their mapping was limited by the spacecraft orbit; the radar images returned have a resolution of about 1 kilometer. Brown University had a program of cooperation with the Vernadsky Institute in Moscow, which was responsible for interpreting the data. All of this resulted in six exciting years exploring excellent, brand new images of Venus for my PhD thesis, with new discoveries around every corner.

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