Venus Has An Active Volcano New Images Confirm

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    The surface of Venus is certain to be dead, choked by sulfuric acid fog and blasted by temperatures that would melt lead. For decades, scientists believed the planet itself was lifeless, topped by a thick, stagnant crustal shell and untouched by active rifts or volcanoes. Yet, indicators of volcanism have recently increased, and the best one so far: real evidence of an explosion. Venus, at least geologically, is alive.

    NASA’s Magellan spacecraft, which orbited the planet 30 years ago and used radar to peek through the thick clouds, made the discovery.

    Venus Has An Active Core

    Pictures taken 8 months later show a volcano’s round mouth, or caldera, rapidly expanding before collapsing. On Earth, such collapses happen when the magma that supported the caldera erupts or drains away, as occurred during the 2018 eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano.

    Witnessing this turbulence during the brief observation period shows that Magellan was very lucky, like Earth, has many volcanoes erupting on a regular basis, according to Robert Herrick, a planetary researcher at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. “We can rule out that it is a dying planet,” says Herrick, who led the study.

    Venus is now only the third planet in the Solar System to have erupting magma volcanoes, following Earth and Jupiter’s fiery moon Io. Future trips to the morning star would be able to investigate “bare, stunning new rock” that contains a sample of the planet’s innards, according to Gilmore. Other volcanoes discovered in previous or future data will also assist researchers in comprehending how Venus sheds its inner heat and evolves. It will also disrupt scientists’ long-held belief that a burst of activity a half-billion years ago repaved the planet’s surface—as demonstrated by a scarcity of impact craters—and was succeeded by a long period of silence.

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