Venus would be volcanically active, according to an article published Wednesday in the journal Science by two American researchers from NASA and the University of Alaska. It was by examining images taken by the Magellan spacecraft more than thirty years ago that scientists came to this conclusion.
For the first time ever, scientists have identified *active volcanism* on Venus.
The paper, by Herrick and Hensley, has just been published in @ScienceMagazine.
— Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) March 15, 2023
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Robert Herrick and Scott Hensley compared the changes observed on the surface of Venus between 1990 and 1992, reports Futura. With their experience as geologists and geophysicists, they identified a lava flow at Maat Mons, one of the largest volcanoes in the so-called Shepherd's Star. It was a change in topography observed in a volcanic vent between February and October 1991 that put them on the track.
"A few eruptions a year"
According to the researchers, the circular formation of this vent would have decreased from about 1.5 square kilometers to 2.5 square kilometers during this period, which assumes that a lava lake caused by an eruption filled the area. While it is still too early to describe this evidence as irrefutable, many visibly convinced researchers have already welcomed this discovery on Twitter.
For his part, Professor Robert Herrick welcomed the possibilities offered by this discovery. "We can now say that Venus is currently volcanically active in the sense that there are at least a few eruptions a year. We can expect future missions to Venus to observe new volcanic events that have occurred since the end of the Magellan mission three decades ago, and we should see some activity occurring as the next two orbital missions collect images," said the professor at the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska.