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NASA Discovered Volcanic Activity in Venus

by Yucatan Times
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An analysis of data from Magellan’s radar finds two volcanoes erupted in the early 1990s. This adds to the 2023 discovery of a different active volcano in Magellan data.

Direct geological evidence of recent volcanic activity on Venus has been observed for a second time. Scientists in Italy analyzed archival data from NASA’s Magellan mission to reveal surface changes indicating the formation of new rock from lava flows linked to volcanoes that erupted while the spacecraft orbited the planet. Managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, Magellan mapped 98% of the planet’s surface from 1990 to 1992, and the images it generated remain the most detailed of Venus to date.

“Using these maps as a guide, our results show that Venus may be far more volcanically active than previously thought,” said Davide Sulcanese of d’Annunzio University in Pescara, Italy, who led the study. “By analyzing the lava flows we observed in two locations on the planet, we have discovered that the volcanic activity on Venus could be comparable to that on Earth.”

This latest discovery builds on the historic 2023 discovery of images from Magellan’s synthetic aperture radar that revealed changes to a vent associated with the volcano Maat Mons near Venus’ equator. The radar images proved to be the first direct evidence of a recent volcanic eruption on the planet. By comparing Magellan radar images over time, the authors of the 2023 study spotted changes caused by the outflow of molten rock from Venus’ subsurface filling the vent’s crater and spilling down the vent’s slopes.

Scientists study active volcanoes to understand how a planet’s interior can shape its crust, drive its evolution, and affect its habitability. The discovery of recent volcanism on Venus provides a valuable insight to the planet’s history and why it took a different evolutionary path than Earth.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN NASA.GOV

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