New research from USRA’s Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) has shown Earth’s sister planet might still have active volcanoes.
This means that Venus joins Earth as the only other planet in our Solar System that is still volcanically active.
According to Science Alert, Venus was identified as having experienced volcanic activity during the 1990s.
These newly published insights are a result of tests by the scientists, who simulated Venus’s atmosphere in their laboratory to investigate how the planet’s lava flows over time.
These simulations showed that olivine (which is abundant in basalt rock) reacts rapidly with Venus’s atmosphere and would become coated with magnetite and hematite (two iron oxide minerals) within days.
In addition, they found that near-infrared signature emitted by these minerals (which are consistent with the data obtained by the Venus Express mission) would disappear within days.
From this, they concluded that the lava flows observed on Venus are very young, indicating the presence of active volcanoes.
“If Venus is indeed active today, it would make a great place to visit to better understand the interiors of planets. For example, we could study how planets cool and why the Earth and Venus have active volcanism, but Mars does not. Future missions should be able to see these flows and changes in the surface and provide concrete evidence of its activity,” said lead researcher Dr. Justin Filiberto said in a statement.