Active volcanoes on Venus?

Using computer models and past radar images from orbiters, scientists now believe that Venus could have as many as 37 active volcanoes.

The type of feature on Venus they think might still be active is called a coronae, circular features detected by radar and distinct to this planet that have been thought to be inactive ancient volcanic features.

In the new study, the researchers used numerical models of thermo-mechanic activity beneath the surface of Venus to create high-resolution, 3D simulations of coronae formation. Their simulations provide a more detailed view of the process than ever before.

The results helped Montési and his colleagues identify features that are present only in recently active coronae. The team was then able to match those features to those observed on the surface of Venus, revealing that some of the variation in coronae across the planet represents different stages of geological development. The study provides the first evidence that coronae on Venus are still evolving, indicating that the interior of the planet is still churning.

Lots of uncertainty here, but nonetheless this is good science. It also reinforces other evidence in recent years that has suggested active volcanism on Venus.

One comment

  • LocalFluff

    There was a NASA space probe proposed about five years ago that I think sounds like a very very good concept: A Venus atmospheric sample return mission. It would be a low budget (on NASA scale) that would dip into the upper atmosphere of Venus to capture some of its gasses. The aerobraking would even help lowering its delta-V (which never is big to Venus anyway) going back to Earth. Scientists could then easily determine from the isotope ratios whether Venus has active volcanoes or not.

    I think that such probes should be sent to all atmospheric celestial bodies, such as MARS and Titan and if orbital mechanic allows, to the giant planets. Much much easier, conceptually, than landing and drilling and launching some sand.

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