Energetic Volcanoes on Venus?

Visitor geology by David Middleton

Latest analyses of information collected by ESA’s Venus Categorical spacecraft signifies that a few of the lava flows on Venus could be very younger…

Current-day volcanism on Venus as evidenced from weathering charges of olivine

Justin Filiberto1,*, David Trang2, Allan H. Treiman1 and Martha S. Gilmore3


At the very least a few of Venus’ lava flows are considered <2.5 million years outdated based mostly on seen to near-infrared (VNIR) emissivity measured by the Venus Categorical spacecraft. Nevertheless, the precise ages of those flows are poorly constrained as a result of the speed at which olivine alters at Venus floor circumstances, and the way that alteration impacts VNIR spectra, stays unknown. We obtained VNIR reflectance spectra of pure olivine that was altered and oxidized within the laboratory. We present that olivine turns into coated, inside days, with alteration merchandise, primarily hematite (Fe2O3). With rising alteration, the VNIR 1000-nm absorption, attribute of olivine, additionally weakens inside days. Our outcomes point out that lava flows missing VNIR options on account of hematite are not more than a number of years outdated. Subsequently, Venus is volcanically energetic now.

Filiberto et al., 2019 (Full textual content accessible)

ESA had beforehand reported proof of latest volcanic exercise on Venus.

The “Close to‐Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS) on board the Galileo spacecraft” could have granitic rocks on Venus, indicating that it as soon as had energetic energetic tectonics, continents and oceans. Might Venus nonetheless be tectonically energetic? Possibly.

Inventive conception of an energetic volcano on Venus. (ESA)

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Again within the 1990’s the Magellan spacecraft additionally offered some spectacular radar photos of Venusian volcanoes and lava flows.

“This Magellan radar picture exhibits a kind of volcanic function often known as a “tick”, positioned northeast of Alpha Regio on Venus. These options are characterised by a caldera inside a clean despair surrounded by a raised rim with radial spurs. The rim on this case has a diameter of about 30 km.” ESA

“In a Magellan picture dubbed the “Crater Farm” we see the curious layering of volcanic exercise and impression craters. Three impression craters are displayed on this three-dimensional perspective view of the floor of Venus. Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech” NASA

Volcanoes Elsewhere in our Photo voltaic System

Earth and the Jovian moon Io are the one two planets or planetary our bodies within the photo voltaic system identified to have energetic volcanoes. Oddly sufficient, Io’s volcanoes are within the mistaken place, in line with fashions.

Scientists to Io: Your Volcanoes Are within the Incorrect Place

Jupiter’s moon Io is probably the most volcanically energetic world within the Photo voltaic System, with lots of of volcanoes, some erupting lava fountains as much as 250 miles excessive. Nevertheless, concentrations of volcanic exercise are considerably displaced from the place they’re anticipated to be based mostly on fashions that predict how the moon’s inside is heated, in line with NASA and European Area Company researchers.



Io Tvashtar volcano: This five-frame animation, produced utilizing photos captured by the New Horizons spacecraft, illustrates a volcanic eruption on Io, a moon of Jupiter. The eruption plume is estimated to be about 180 miles excessive. NASA picture.” Geology.com

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Venus would make it three.

Mars and the Moon have been additionally volcanically energetic within the geologic previous. Distant sensing knowledge and the geomorphology of Io, Venus and Mars point out that the lava flows are primarily of a basaltic nature. The Moon’s maria lava flows have been confirmed to be composed primarily of basalt. Lunar basalt is mineralogically just like Earth’s, though there’s a important and diagnostic geochemical distinction. Lunar rocks and regolith plot alongside a definite FeOT vs. Al2O3 pattern. Within the picture beneath, I plotted mare basalt samples collected by the Apollo 11 & 12 missions together with all kinds of terrestrial basalt samples.

Apollo 11 and 12 mare basalts and varied terrestrial basalts plotted on a cross plot of FeOT vs. Al2O3 (Korotev)

Lunar basalt is enriched in in iron oxide and depleted in aluminum oxide, relative to comparable rocks on Earth.


Neptune’s moon Triton and Saturn’s moon Enceladus seem to have cryovolcanoes. These options are composed of ice and erupt water vapor.

“Cryovolcano mechanics: Diagram of how a cryovolcano would possibly work on Io or Enceladus. Pockets of pressurized water a brief distance beneath the floor are heated by inner tidal motion. When pressures change into excessive sufficient, they vent to the floor.” Geology.com


Filiberto, J., Trang, D., Treiman, A.H., Gilmore, M., 2020. Current-day volcanism on Venus as evidenced from weathering charges of olivine. Science Advances, 6: eaax7445.

Hashimoto, G. L., Roos‐Serote, M., Sugita, S., Gilmore, M. S., Kamp, L. W., Carlson, R. W., and Baines, Okay. H. ( 2008), Felsic highland crust on Venus advised by Galileo Close to‐Infrared Mapping Spectrometer knowledge, J. Geophys. Res., 113, E00B24, doi:10.1029/2008JE003134.

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