Chances are that you don’t know too much about Venus and probably you had no clue that it might be home to active volcanoes, according to a new study that was published in Science Advances. If this will turn out to be true, it would be a premiere: the first active volcano on another planet!
In order to prove the volcanic activity of Venus, researchers experimented with olivine crystals, which is a mineral that is typically found in volcanic rock. To test how it might be detected on Venus, the scientists tried to copy the conditions on the planet’s surface when running the experiment. The main requisite was heating the mineral in a furnace up to a scorching 1650 degrees Fahrenheit for a month. After a few days, the olivine sample formed a reddish-black hematite coat, which makes olivine more difficult to be detected. This led to a surprising conclusion.
The results of the study hints that the high emissivity lava flows are not millions, nor thousands of years old, but rather emplaced at most a few years before they were detected.
“If so, then Venus is volcanically active today because our experimental results show that the emissivity/reflectance signature of olivine should be obscured by oxide coatings within months to years, ” the researchers wrote.
It’s known that volcanoes existed on the moon and Mars alike, but they are long dormant on both celestial bodies. Up until now, only Earth was known to have volcanic activity.