Venus is one of the hottest planets in our solar system after Mercury. Now, researchers have identified three dozen features on Venus, which they state could have been created by volcanism. If this is true then it will potentially reshape our understanding about the planet and its evolution.
The study was made possible by the help of computer simulations to model the formation and evolution of Venus’ ring-shaped volcanic structures, called coronae, in detail. The study was led by geophysicist Anna Gülcher of ETH Zürich in Switzerland.
Venus’ coronae are formed by plumes of molten rock rising from the mantle up through the crust. This process is similar to how Earth’s volcanos function. Interestingly, most of Earth’s volcanism occurs along the boundaries of tectonic plates, but modern Venus doesn’t seem to possess tectonic plates.
Co-author of the study Laurent Montési, a professor of geology at the University of Maryland, said that there are still active volcanos present on the planet. He adds that they might be dormant but not dead. Venus was earlier determined to be an inactive planet, however, now it is being said that the “interior is still churning and can feed many active volcanoes.”
“The improved degree of realism in these models over previous studies makes it possible to identify several stages in corona evolution and define diagnostic geological features present only at currently active coronae,” Montési said.
The researchers during the study hunted for young coronae in the imagery of Venus’ surface captured by spacecraft like NASA’s Magellan probe, which orbited Venus from 1990 to 1994. With this data, Montési says that they were able to determine that at least 37 coronae have recently been active. All of these young coronae are clustered in just a few regions. the researchers state that these regions are interesting targets for detailed investigation by future spacecraft missions.
Venus remained active long after Mercury and Mars became inactive. Due to which it features far fewer craters than those two worlds, which scientists state is consistent with a global resurfacing event that took place around 500 million to 700 million years ago.
Other than Venus our solar system’s second inner rocky planet, Earth, is extremely active as of now.
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