Recent volcanic activity suspected on Venus

Venus is a hostile planet littered with volcanoes whose activity is unknown, but Idunn Mons may have been recently active.

1 minute & 10 seconds read time

A recent paper published in The Planetary Science Journal indicates that at least one volcano on Venus may still be active, helping shape the planet's landscape around it.

Recent volcanic activity suspected on Venus 01

More volcanoes are found on Venus than any other planet in our solar system, with more than 1,600 hundred major volcanoes and potentially up to around a million smaller ones. So far, it has been unclear whether any remain active currently, as the planet is difficult to analyze both from space or on the surface due to the extremely hostile environment.

However, Piero D'Incecco of D'Annunzio University in Pescara, Italy, in his study of Idunn Mons, a Venusian volcanic peak roughly 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) high and 125 miles (200 km), has shown signs of potential recent activity. The volcano is located in the Imdr Regio, a region in southern Venus rich in volcanoes.

"The possible presence of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus may be associated with recent or ongoing volcanic activity. Therefore, looking for sites of potentially active volcanism on Venus is crucial," said D'Incecco.

The recent detection of phosphine gas, images of lava flow around Idunn Mons by NASA's Magellan spacecraft and the ESA's Venus Express, and slowed winds suggested to be due to the heat from such lava flow suggest Idunn Mons was active anywhere between 10,000 years ago to only a few years ago. With future missions to Venus planned using NASA's VERITAS orbiter and ESA's EnVision probe, we can expect more reports on its volcanic activity to come.

You can read more from the study here.

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