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Plate tectonics – the movement of Earth's lithosphere – may have been driven originally by the low density of the planet's continental crust. Studies have revealed that this low density is caused by processes that affected the distribution of material throughout the continents. However, gaps remain in our knowledge regarding the characteristics of the crust on other terrestrial planets and how it formed. In particular, could similar physical processes occur on other planets with no plate tectonics? The EU-funded CRUSLID project aims at determining the present-day nature and structure of the crusts and the physical and geological processes leading to crust formation and evolution on stagnant-lid planets.

Uncovering the secrets of planetary crust formation