Scientists discover volcanoes on Venus are still active

Posted: July 21, 2020 by oldbrew in Geology, research, solar system dynamics, volcanos
Tags: ,


The presence of sulphur in the atmosphere hinted at this.
– – –
A new study identified 37 recently active volcanic structures on Venus, reports

The study provides some of the best evidence yet that Venus is still a geologically active planet.

A research paper on the work, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland and the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, was published in the journal Nature Geoscience on July 20, 2020.

“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,'” said Laurent Montési, a professor of geology at UMD and co-author of the research paper. “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.”

Scientists have known for some time that Venus has a younger surface than planets like Mars and Mercury, which have cold interiors.

Evidence of a warm interior and geologic activity dots the surface of the planet in the form of ring-like structures known as coronae, which form when plumes of hot material deep inside the planet rise through the mantle layer and crust. This is similar to the way mantle plumes formed the volcanic Hawaiian Islands.

But it was thought that the coronae on Venus were probably signs of ancient activity, and that Venus had cooled enough to slow geological activity in the planet’s interior and harden the crust so much that any warm material from deep inside would not be able to puncture through.

In addition, the exact processes by which mantle plumes formed coronae on Venus and the reasons for variation among coronae have been matters for debate.

Continued here.

  1. Graeme No.3 says:

    I would have thought the presence of 0.5% sulphuric acid in the atmosphere might have indicated current (or recent) volcanic activity.

  2. oldbrew says:

    When are they going to ‘discover’ that the temperature on Venus at 1 bar pressure is remarkably similar to that on Earth at 1 bar (surface)?

    [Venus troposphere is not just the lowest coloured bar – see below]

    Wikipedia hints at it…
    The densest part of the atmosphere, the troposphere, begins at the surface and extends upwards to 65 km. At the furnace-like surface the winds are slow,[1] but at the top of the troposphere the temperature and pressure reaches Earth-like levels [bold added]
    – – –
    The Standard Atmosphere tells us temperature and pressure in Earth’s troposphere are closely related, via density.

    Common 0.1 bar tropopause in thick atmospheres
    set by pressure-dependent infrared transparency
    T. D. Robinson and D. C. Catling (2013)

    Click to access Robinson2014_0.1bar_Tropopause.pdf

  3. Paul Vaughan says:

    “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.”

    “The active coronae on Venus are clustered in a handful of locations, which suggests areas where the planet is most active, providing clues to the workings of the planet’s interior. These results may help identify target areas where geologic instruments should be placed on future missions to Venus”

    If only discussion of Earth’s climate could have been so clean
    What pure joy it would have been (….and certainly hasn’t been).

  4. Paul Vaughan says:

    This reminds me that review is due: I should dig out the geophysical clean-up list I left for Trump before he got elected. I imagine readers have forgotten the list. Nothing on the list got done. Only the very highest-ranking priorities were listed to sharpen focus. Everything on the list was achievable.

    If I remember the list correctly 2 of the items on the list would apply to both Earth and Venus.

  5. oldbrew says:

    NEWS RELEASE 21-JUL-2020
    The Venus ‘ring of fire’

    On a map of Venus, she plotted all the coronae according to how their activity was classified. To her surprise, most of the coronae overlying active mantle plumes form a belt in Venus’ southern hemisphere. Only a handful of active plumes are located outside this band. “We called this band the ‘Ring of Fire’ on Venus in reference to the ‘Ring of Fire’ on Earth,” Gülcher says. She assumes that the belt coincides with a zone that expels high levels of rising plume material.

    It is important to note, however, that the position and dynamics of Earth’s ring of fire are the result of plate tectonics, she explains. On Venus, the cause is vertical hotspot volcanism”, a phenomenon that occurs in only a few places on Earth, such as below the Hawaiian Islands.
    – – –
    But plate tectonics is supposed to be everywhere on Earth, wheres the ‘ring of fire’ is only around the Pacific ocean.

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