Volcanic activity on Venus has been thought to be a thing of the past, but new research aided by European Space Agency data proves that volcanic activity is still happening on the planet.
Venus is a rather untouchable planet for the scientific community. Its elevated surface temperatures and the fact that the planet is engulfed in a blanket of cloud layers fuming in its atmosphere make it out of reach for scientific probing.
Nonetheless, Venus Express probe launched by the European Space Agency has provided crucial data to scientists looking into volcanic activity on the planet. After a long process of data crunching, the verdict is here: Venus is the home of active volcanoes.
The results of the analysis regarding active volcanoes on Venus have been published in the Geophysical Research Letters.
Venus Express probe sent back data that indicated dramatic temperature shifts over four hot spot locations on the surface of Venus. These are pinpointed in the Ganiki Chasma rift, near the northern hemisphere of the planet.
“This latest evidence very much leads us to believe that we’ve finally found proof that the surface is tectonically active and changing today,”
said Colin Wilson from the Oxford University and one of the authors of the study.
What drew the attention of scientists was the rise and decrease in temperatures in the four hotspots. Even on Earth, such a sudden increase followed by a drop in temperatures indicates volcanic activity.
For the Ganiki Chasma rift hotspots, data crunching revealed lava flows on the surface of Venus. The European Space Agency’s data was obtained via infrared measuring from the Venus Monitoring Camera.
While the newly discovered volcanic activity is happening near to Venus’s northern hemisphere, previous research has shown that the south pole of the planet is ridden by a dark region which appears to be lava deposits dating back to 2.5 million years ago.
Another clue to volcanic activity on Venus was a spike of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere of the planet. However, this is not a definite factor for lava flows on the Venusian surface as the sulfur dioxide spike can also be caused by the shifting winds.
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