March 28, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

Complete News World

Discover an active volcano on Venus

The discovery was announced at a major planetary research conference in Texas and will be published in the Sciences. This discovery provides further insight into the role that volcanoes play on a planet without plate tectonics and continental drift – the geological processes responsible for much of the volcanic activity on Earth.

Of course, Robert Herrick of the University of Alaska and Scott Hensley of NASA would have loved to provide detailed images of the large ash clouds and gorgeous lava fountains. However, it is not seen: the surface of Venus is obscured by a permanently closed cloud cover. Instead, they found significant landscape changes in ancient radar measurements, which are almost certainly due to volcanic activity. After Earth and Jupiter’s moon Io, Venus is now the third celestial body in the solar system to experience active rocky volcanism.

More than thirty years ago, the surface of Venus was mapped by the American space probe Magellan using radar. In addition, many regions of the planet have been measured twice, with an interval of eight months. Herrick and Hensley have now re-examined the old Magellan notes, looking for differences.

On the north side of Maat Mons, a 5-kilometer-high shield volcano, they discovered a relatively small crater more than 1.5 kilometers in diameter, which is roughly circular in the first “radar image”. In the second image, the crater is much larger and irregularly shaped. Moreover, it seems less deep, as if it was filled with lava. To the north, a new lava field of about 70 square kilometers may have formed as well.

See also  Best Buy Guide for Desktop Computers - Tweakers

According to the researchers, all of this indicates that Maat Mons is still active. “It certainly looks like that,” says volcanologist Bernd Andweg of the Free University of Amsterdam. “It is complicated to explain such a dramatic change in landscape in such a short time in any other way, although the researchers themselves are still a bit cautious.”

Sebastien de Wit, a planetary researcher at TU Delft, was also surprised. “It’s good to see that new discoveries are still being made based on the old observational data,” he says. “Especially because there is still a lot of material on the shelf.”

De Vet is looking forward to new space flights to Venus with interest. He concludes, “If this discovery is backed up by observations from future space missions, of course that would be great.”