Erupting volcano discovered on Venus

(ORDO NEWS) — How volcanically active the neighboring planet was, until now, it was not known exactly.

However, a careful study of archival data made it possible to notice the eruption of the largest Venusian volcano, which accidentally fell into the “lens” of a space probe.

Venus is surrounded by a thick and turbulent atmosphere containing sulfuric acid and heated to extreme temperatures.

This makes its surface completely unsuitable for life. However, the planet itself can remain “alive”. Despite the fact that there are no moving tectonic plates in its crust, Venusian volcanoes continue to erupt.

In recent years, new evidence of this activity has been found, and recently scientists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks found direct evidence of volcanism on a nearby planet.

Thus, Venus turned out to be the third body in the solar system (after the Earth and Jupiter’s moon Io) with volcanoes spewing magma.

Professor Robert Herrick and his team used archival data collected by the Magellan probe, which explored Venus some 30 years ago.

The main attention of scientists was focused on Mount Maat , which is considered the largest volcano on the planet.

Erupting volcano discovered on Venus 2
Changes in the Maat volcano caldera over eight months of 1991

Magellan radar surveyed the slopes of Maat in February and October 1991, eight months apart.

After examining the obtained images, geologists found that the caldera, the basin of the volcano, grew noticeably during this period – from a rounded shape of about 2.2 square kilometers to an irregular one with an area of ​​​​more than 3.9 square kilometers.

Such processes are well known to geologists on the example of the Earth: the exhaustion of the magma that supports the edges of the basin causes the walls to collapse and the caldera to grow in size.

In addition, Magellan recorded an anomaly – an area of ​​​​slightly reduced gravity directly above Maat. The presence of fresh lava was also indicated by observations in the microwave range of electromagnetic waves.

The fact that the eruption was noticed in the relatively short period of operation of the space probe may be a great success, or indicates the continued high activity of volcanoes on a neighboring planet.

It seems that the interior of Venus continues to warm up due to the slow decay of radioactive elements. The resulting heat finds outlets to the surface, despite the absence of plate tectonics.


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