Published: Tue, January 07, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

New evidence suggests that Venus has active volcanoes

New evidence suggests that Venus has active volcanoes

Gaining a deeper understanding into Earth's neighbouring planet, a research team led by Universities Space Research Association (USRA) has found out that Venus may have active volcanoes still present, according to worldwide reports. For one, the various space missions were not able to determine if the lava flowing on the planet was fresh or not.

These simulations showed that olivine (which is abundant in basalt rock) reacts rapidly with an atmosphere like Venus' and would become coated with magnetite and hematite (two iron oxide minerals) within days.

For the study's lead author Justin Filiberto, studying Venus' active volcanism can shed new light on the conditions of other planets. Venus boasts of sprawling lava plains, fields of small lava domes, and large shield volcanoes. In the early 1990s, radar imaging from NASA's Magellan spacecraft revealed a world of volcanoes and extensive lava flows.

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Whereas the planet is thought to have been volcanically lively as current as 2.5 million years in the past, no concrete proof has been discovered that there are nonetheless volcanic eruptions on Venus' surface. Sadly, the ages of lava eruptions and volcanoes on Venus weren't recognized till not too long ago for the reason that the adjustment charge of recent lava was not properly constrained. The change in mineralogy would be complete within a few years, but that is not what Venus Express saw on the surface. The new study from the USRA's Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) doesn't have any new data, but it draws new conclusions based on what we already know from those missions. Mars and the moon also have been harboring active volcanoes long ago, but they are inactive now.

To see if lava flows seen on Venus are recent, scientists experimented with crystals of olivine, a green mineral commonly found in volcanic rock. ISRO aims to explore in its Venus mission include surface, subsurface, and atmosphere of the planet, as well as its interaction with the Sun.

Intriguingly, from 2006 to 2014, the European Space Agency's Venus Express orbited the planet and detected signs of olivine. Several such missions are in the works for the future, including India's Shukrayaan-1 orbiter and Russia's Venera-D spacecraft, scheduled to launch by 2023 and 2026, respectively.

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