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After just completing the Mercurian phase in Celestial Astronomy's depiction of planetary evolution, one would logically conclude the next phase would be the Venutian phase. While that would be correct, we need to digress here for a moment to examine one of the more important pieces of planetary activity in order to get a better understanding of planetary evolution.
One of the reasons planetary evolution is so difficult to discern is that you really need to combine the fields of astronomy and geology. Although legacy astronomy may enable you to chart the positions of the planets, in order to understand how they evolve and why they are at the positions they are at, as well as what they are doing at those positions during their lifetime, really requires an understanding of geology and wormation.
Part of the goal is to try to recognize if there is a repeatable definable pattern that is taking place that will enable us to see planetary evolution through celestial astronomy as a structured process, not a random occurrence. In order to do this, we need to take a non-traditional viewpoint of how planets evolve so as not to arrive at the same conclusions legacy Astronomy has arrived at.
A perfect example of this non-traditional approach is analyzing the word volcano. VOLCANO is a porpheme for VOLume CANOn. Volume as in a measure of space an object is taking up. Canon, not to be confused with cannon, a rule of conduct or official action similar to canon law. What this basically means is when you see volcanoes forming on a planet you can infer that the planet's volume is going to increase due to the behavior of the volcanoes.
Whereas most people would probably be familiar with the term canon as in canon law in the church, the term canon when applied to planetary evolution is more like a law of physics. Though the concept of it being recognized behavior is similar to canon law in the church where their laws prescribe desired behavior. This desired behavior can be recognized when it is not being followed as well as when it is. Canon law pertaining to planetary evolution is recognized behavior of the planet's increase in volume because it can be seen over the lifetimes of planets. Unfortunately, up to this point, no one has drawn the correlation between the volcanoes and the increase in planetary volume.
The key is that volcanic activity, when viewed from the big picture, is instrumental in planetary evolution. If the core of the planet is analogous to the root of a tree, the volcanoes might analogous to the leaves. Immediately, you might say but the leaves receive the light from the sun and the volcanoes don't. The key is that the cyclical nature of plate tectonics sending the crust of the Earth into the core where it is is superheated and the heavy elements are maintained and the lighter ones sent out through volcanoes is not only allowing the volume of the earth to increase it is making the core more receptive to the star's energy.
So whereas there is no direct physical connection from light energy to a leaf, there is an indirect connection where volcanoes are instrumental in the cyclical process which enables the planetary core to receive more energy. Remember if the root is analogous to the core, the root is not visible so the analogy can only take you so far.
So the main idea to get across is that when volcanoes start to appear on a planet, you can tell the planet is going to start to increase in volume. This is creating a repeatable definable pattern that will help to explain planetary evolution as a process that has structure and is not simply random.
The volcanoes will perform slightly different functions as the planets grow. Once the planets have achieved their basic size, they are going to play a role in shaping the crust to define the terrain. As the planet's age, the volcanoes will play a role in helping the planet rarify its core to prepare for the journey to depart the star system and function as a comet again in the same or another star system.
In the next article, we'll look at the Venutian phase.
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For more information on Celestial Astronomy, the index of articles can be found at the bottom of the first article here.