‘Recently active’ volcanoes on Venus!
Our Venus may not be so calm after all. Scientists have identified 37 volcanic structures on Venus that appear to be recently active – and probably still are today – painting the picture of a geologically dynamic planet and not a dormant world as long thought.
The research focused on ring-like structures called coronae, caused by an upwelling of hot rock from deep within the planet’s interior, and provided compelling evidence of widespread recent tectonic and magma activity on Venus’s surface.
Many scientists had long thought Venus, lacking the plate tectonics that gradually reshape Earth’s surface, was essentially dormant geologically for the past half a billion years.
The researchers determined the type of geological features that could exist only in a recently active corona – a telltale trench surrounding the structure. Then they scoured radar images of Venus from NASA’s Magellan spacecraft in the 1990s to find coronae that fit the bill. Of 133 coronae examined, 37 appear to have been active in the past 2 million to 3 million years, a blink of the eye in geological time.
It takes Venus longer to rotate once on its axis than to complete one orbit of the Sun. That’s 243 Earth days to rotate once - the longest rotation of any planet in the Solar System - and only 224.7 Earth days to complete one orbit of the Sun.