New Evidence Suggests That Venus Might Have Active Volcanoes

Scientists

Thanks to its super-dense and hazy atmosphere, there are still unresolved questions about the planet's geological history. Scientists also say that volcanoes can be found on dwarf planets also. Venus, which is closer to the Sun than Earth but not as close as the steamy Mercury, hasn't been studied in the same way as some other planets in our system, and there's still a lot we don't know about it.

This figure shows the volcanic peak Idunn Mons in the Imdr Regio area of Venus. The coloured overlay shows the heat patterns derived from surface brightness data collected by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer, aboard the ESA's Venus Express spacecraft.

The stunning discovery published in the journal Science Advances suggests Venus and Earth are the only two volcanically active worlds in the solar system.

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI, https://www.lpi.usra.edu), operated by Universities Space Research Association, was established during the Apollo program to foster global collaboration and to serve as a repository for information gathered during the early years of the space program. Since spacecraft have spotted olivine on Venus as recently as 2014, Choi reports, fresh lava has likely been belched onto the planet's surface within the last few decades. Surface regions that are old are expected to have lower emissions of such light after long exposure to weathering from Venus' hot, caustic atmosphere, so these patches of higher emissions hinted at recent lava flows. Sadly, the ages of lava eruptions and volcanoes on Venus weren't recognized till not too long ago for the reason that the adjustment charge of recent lava was not properly constrained.

The team of specialists seemingly recreated Venus' warm atmosphere in their laboratory to analyze how Venusian minerals act and grow. They discovered that within a matter of weeks, a mineral known as olivine reacts rapidly to the atmosphere. When compared to the Venus Express observations of this change in minerology, they surmised that the level of degradation would only take a few years to occur.

Volcanoes and lava flows on Venus. So far, Earth and Jupiter's Moon Io were believed to harbor active volcanoes.

"If Venus is indeed active today, it would make a great place to visit to better understand the interiors of planets". A new simulation from Venus suggests that the planet indeed has active volcanoes hiding under all those clouds. Future missions should be able to observe these currents and surface changes, and they should be able to provide concrete evidence providing the activity.

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