Venus is volcanically active: scientists find ‘convincing evidence’ of eruptions and lava flows
Venus Volcanoes are known to be covered by more volcanoes than any other planet in the world. solar system.
And now scientists have “strong evidence” that some of these volcanoes are still active.
Images from NASAThe Magellan spacecraft shows a vent – a hole through which volcanic activity occurs – on the planet has changed shape over an eight-month period.
It grew from about 0.85 square miles (2.2 square kilometers) to 1.5 square miles (3.9 square kilometers), according to New York University researchers, suggesting that eruptions and lava flows on Venus continues. Alaska Fairbanks.
The discovery raises doubts that the sister planet of the Earth may contain microbial life.
Two images of one particular source on the huge shield volcano Maat Mons (pictured) were taken eight months apart and show that it has changed shape and size.
The vent increased from about 0.85 square miles (2.2 square kilometers) to 1.5 square miles (3.9 square kilometers). Left: Ventilation in February 1991, right: Ventilation in October 1991.
Venus is a terrestrial planet similar in size to Earth but has a surface temperature of around 867°F (464°C) and a pressure 92 times that of our home planet.
VENUS: THE BASICS
Venus, the second planet from the Sun, is a rocky planet about the same size and mass as Earth.
However, its atmosphere is radically different from ours: it is 96 percent carbon dioxide, has a surface temperature of 867°F (464°C) and a pressure 92 times that of Earth.
The inhospitable planet is shrouded in clouds of sulfuric acid, making the surface impossible to see in the visible light spectrum.
In the past, Venus probably had oceans similar to Earth’s, but they evaporated due to a runaway greenhouse effect.
The surface of Venus is a dry desert landscape interspersed with volcanic activity.
The planet has no satellites and revolves around the Sun in 224.7 Earth days.
Scientists believe that Venus, known as Earth’s “evil twin”, was habitable 700 million years ago before mysteriously becoming uninhabitable.
Venus today is a world of intense heat, crushing barometric pressure, and clouds of corrosive acid.
Because the planet is 65 percent mosaic of volcanic lava plains, scientists have long known that Venus’s surface is younger than that of the other “unearthly” rocky planets of Mars and Mercury.
However, while no eruption has yet been recorded on the planet, there is some evidence that these volcanoes are still active today.
This includes detecting hot spots, hot spots, active coronas that form when hot material from inside the planet erupts through the crust, and sulfur dioxide And phosphine in the atmosphere, which are believed to have been released by volcanoes.
But modeling geodynamic processes on the planet gives different predictions about the level of ongoing volcanic activity.
“Estimates of how often Venus might erupt have been speculative, ranging from a few large eruptions per year to one such eruption every few or even decades,” said study author Dr. Robert Herrick.
For a new study published today in The sciencethe researchers wanted to find more convincing evidence of recent eruptions.
The authors analyzed radar images taken by the Magellan spacecraft. which orbited the planet from 1989 to 1994 looking for more convincing signs of eruptions.
Venus (pictured) is a terrestrial planet similar in size to Earth but has a surface temperature of around 867°F (464°C) and a pressure 92 times that of our home planet.
Dr. Herrick said: “Now we can say that Venus is currently volcanically active in the sense that there are at least a few eruptions a year.” In the photo: the surface of Venus
Until recently, viewing these images for evidence of lava flows took a significant amount of time, so few have attempted to do so.
“In fact, it has only been in the last decade or so that Magellan data has become available in full resolution, tiled, and easily manipulated by a researcher from a typical personal workstation,” Dr. Herrick said.
Between 1990 and 1992, the probe took pictures of the same place. Venus two or three times, and some of them were later identified as potential volcanic hotspots.
Two images of one particular vent on the huge shield volcano Maat Mons. were filmed eight months apart.
According to Dr. Herrick, Maat Mons is comparable in volume to the largest volcanoes on Earth, but has lower slopes, so it is more spread out.
The researchers saw that between February and October 1991, it grew and changed from round to irregular.
They also believe that its walls shrank and that in the second image it was almost filled to the brim with some kind of lava lake.
However, they couldn’t tell if it was still hot and melted, or if it had been there long enough to cool and solidify.
They also saw “volcanic flows downhill from the vent” in the second image, but could not confirm that they were present, just not visible in the first image.
Therefore, they argue that these changes could well be the result of lava flowing through the vent due to volcanic activity.
An eruption in a vent, or movement of magma underneath, causing walls to collapse, would have a similar effect on Earth.
Both of these cases were due to nearby volcanic eruptions rather than earthquakes, prompting researchers to rule out one of the latter on Venus.
Dr. Herrick said: “Now we can say that Venus is currently volcanically active in the sense that there are at least a few eruptions a year.
“We can expect upcoming Venus missions to observe the new volcanic flows that have occurred since the completion of the Magellan mission three decades ago, and we should see some activity taking place while the two upcoming orbital missions collect images.”
EVIDENCE OF VOLCANIC ACTIVITY ON VENUS
In 2015, scientists identified “hot spots” of above-average temperaturesobtained during the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Venus Express mission, which suggests volcanic activity.
Venus Express also found anomalies in the emissivity – a measure of an object’s ability to emit infrared energy – around the Idunn Mons volcano.
These anomalies are a strong indication of geologically recent lava flows in the area.
In 2020 There were 37 “crowns” on the surface of Venus. that were the result of currently active processes.
These ring-shaped structures form when hot material from deep within a planet rises through the mantle and erupts through the crust.
Prior to this discovery, the crowns were thought to be signs of ancient activity 500 million years ago, rather than something that happened more recently.
Scientists have also reported sulfur dioxide And phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus, which are believed to be ejected by volcanoes.
Now, researchers have discovered a “hole” — a hole through which volcanic activity occurs — that has changed shape over the course of eight months, adding to this set of evidence.