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Active Volcanoes Discovered on Venus

Active Volcanoes Discovered on Venus

A new study by researchers at the University of Maryland and the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich identified active volcanoes on the surface of Venus.

37 recently active volcanoes were published in the journal of Nature Geoscience on July 20th, 2020.

“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,”

“We are able to tell that at least 37 coronae have been very recently active.”

Laurent Montési

Professor of Geology, University of Maryland

Venus Volcanoes
Image Credit: Anna Gülcher

Initially it was thought that the coronae, oval shaped features, on the surface of Venus were due to ancient volcanic activity and that Venus’ interior was now cool enough to have no recent geological activity. This new study shows that Venus has multiple active sites where plumes of the hot interior broke through the mantel and crust. Very similar to how it happens on Earth.

Researchers used numerical models of thermo-mechanic activity beneath the surface to create 3D simulations of the coronae formations. These new simulations give a more accurate perspective of what is recently developing on Venus.

Venus Coronae Simulation

Image Credit: Laurent Montési

“This is the first time we are able to point to specific structures and say ‘Look, this is not an ancient volcano but one that is active today, dormant perhaps, but not dead,’”

“This study significantly changes the view of Venus from a mostly inactive planet to one whose interior is still churning and can feed many active volcanoes.”

Laurent Montési

Professor of Geology, University of Maryland

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