A new scientific study has identified 30 recently active volcanoes on the surface of Venus. The study offers some of the best evidence ever that Venus is still a geologically active planet. The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Maryland and the Institute of geophysics at ETH Zürich. One researcher says that this is the first time scientists have been able to point to specific structures and say that it’s not an ancient volcano, rather it’s an active volcano.
The team notes that the volcanoes may be dormant, but they aren’t dead. The study changes the view of Venus as a typically inactive planet, the one with an interior that’s still active and able to feed volcanoes. Scientists have known that there was evidence of the warm interior and geological activity on Venus due to ring-like structures known as coronae.
Coronae form when plumes of hot material from deep inside Venus rise through the mantle layer and crust. Similar structures are formed on Earth in the Hawaiian Islands. Previously, scientists believe that the coronae on Venus were likely signs of ancient activity. The new study created a high-resolution, 3D simulation of coronae formation.
The scientists were able to identify features present only in recently active coronae. The team was then able to match the features to those observed on the surface of the planet. That revealed some of the variations in coronae across the planet represents different stages of geological development.
This indicates that the planet is still turning internally and developing. The active coronae on Venus are clustered in a handful of locations, suggesting areas where the planet is most active. Scientists hope that in the future, they may be able to place geological instruments on the surface of the planet to gain more information.