Astronomers Have Proved That There Are Active Volcanoes On The Surface Of Venus
Planetologists have found 37 structures on the surface of Venus at once, which are presumably "living" volcanoes that erupted relatively recently by geological standards. The research is available in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.
"For the first time, we were able to identify specific structures on the surface of Venus and show that they are not ancient, but quite active modern volcanoes.
Some of them may be still asleep, but they are not dead. This suggests that the interior of Venus is still very active from a geological point of view," said one of the authors of the study, Professor at the University of Maryland in Baltimore (USA) Laurent Montesi.
Venus appeared in almost the same conditions and point as the Earth, but it is strikingly different in appearance and structure from our planet. Now it has almost no water, its super-dense atmosphere consists of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid, heated to 462 degrees Celsius, and the almost flat surface is covered with traces of relatively recent volcanic eruptions.
In the distant past, as simple computer models of the climate of Venus show, it should have been similar to Earth and had large reserves of water and a relatively mild climate. For this reason, astronomers are now wondering what could have turned the "morning star" into the infernal world that it is, as indicated by images and measurements of several Soviet and European probes, for at least a billion years.
Also, scientists have long been trying to understand how geologically active Venus is today. Until recently, it was virtually impossible to obtain such information due to the huge density and cloud cover of the atmosphere of Venus, as well as the lack of proper instruments on Board the Akatsuki probe, the only vehicle in its orbit today.
The volcanoes of the "morning star"
Montesi and her colleagues found 37 active volcanoes on the surface of Venus at once, analyzing radar photos and images that were obtained in the early 1990s by the American interplanetary probe "Magellan". In these images, you can see structures that geologists call "crowns."
They are stepped hills with a large depression in the center, presumably formed in the distant past as a result of the rise of the so-called plumes, vertical streams of hot magma rising from the core of the planet to its surface. In the past, scientists assumed that such geological processes have long ceased on Venus, but the exact age of the "corona" geologists could not estimate due to the lack of understanding of how the planet's interior is arranged.
American planetary scientists tried to fill this gap by creating a computer model that describes in detail the process of forming Venusian crowns and compared the results of the calculations with radar images that were obtained by Magellan almost three decades ago.
These calculations showed that such stepped structures are relatively short-lived geological objects. They quickly settle as the plume cools, and also collapse under the influence of erosion forces, as a result of which these objects acquire a completely different appearance in just 30-40 million years, a short time by the standards of Geology.
Based on this discovery, scientists calculated the age for several dozen Venusian crowns. It turned out that almost four dozen of them appeared very recently, no later than 1.5 million years ago, including the largest such structure, the crown of Aramaiti, located on the land of Aphrodite in the southern hemisphere of Venus.
The discovery of these potential sources of Venusian volcanism, the researchers note, will be particularly interesting for the scientific teams of future Venusian missions under construction, including the European mapping probe EnVision and the Russian-American Venus-D mission, whose lander will work on the surface of Venus for a long time.