Venus has found traces of recent volcanic activity

10.04.2010

Astrophysicists have found evidence in relation to the recent volcanic activity on Venus. Article scientists published in the journal Science, and its summary can be found at the German Aerospace Center, whose staff participated in the work.



A computer model of the probe Venus Express. Picture of ESA

 

In the study, researchers used data on the surface temperature of the planet, compiled spectrometer VIRTIS (Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer — Spectrometer observations of thermal radiation in the infrared and visible light) on board Venus Express. According to scientists, the high density of the atmosphere leads to the fact that the temperature at the surface is completely determined by the temperature of the atmosphere.

Comparing the predictions obtained using a computer model, the actual data, scientists have been able to identify regions of the so-called hot — part of the surface where the temperature is 2-3 ° C above that predicted.

Subsequent analysis of the information gathered revealed that discrepancy with the theory due to the peculiarities of the breed in the region, as well as the degree of its lack of erosion by the Venusian weather. The researchers believe that these regions may be composed of a material that has been thrown to the surface by volcanic activity.

The collected data, however, is not enough to say how long the volcanic activity occurred. According to scientists, the soil may be in the range of from 250 years to 2.5 million years, but it is assumed that the age of the rock likely lies closer to the lower limit. Thus, many active volcanoes can be still.

Apparatus Venus Express has been studying Venus since April 2006.

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