Active Volcanoes May Still Exist on Venus
By Katherine J. Wu/Smithsonianmag.com
Searing hot, bone dry and cloaked in clouds of acid, Venus is hardly a haven of habitability. Like Earth, however, Venus may still harbor active volcanoes, suggests a study published last week in Science Advances. Though this idea has been proposed before, new evidence hints that the lava flows that ripple across the planet’s scorched surface may be just a few years old, bolstering the case for recent eruptions.
Researchers have known for decades that Venus’ surface is mottled with volcanoes, but determining whether those volcanoes are dormant or active from a distance is tricky. Using data collected from the European Space Agency’s now-dead orbiter, Venus Express, scientists have found several hints of residual volcanic activity in the planet’s atmosphere, including hotspots of searing heat and blips of sulfur dioxide, the gassy calling card of active volcanoes here on Earth.
“If Venus is indeed active today, it would make a great place to visit to better understand the interiors of planets,” study author Justin Filiberto, a staff scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute’s Universities Space Research Association, says in a statement.
The spacecraft has also snapped images of young-looking lava flows, full of minerals not yet chemically corrupted ….Read More: