Aside from having the same size and being made of rocky materials, recent scientific reports are suggesting that Venus may have yet another similarity with Earth – it possibly has active volcanoes, too.
Named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, the planet is believed to show clear indications that it has not several volcanoes. This is the conclusion made by scientists after the Venus Express orbited the second planet to the sun for 8 years from 2006 to last year.
During the spacecraft’s mission, it detected flashes of infrared light from the surface of the planet. Usually, infrared waves come from hot objects and so there’s a huge possibility that the light came from fresh lava. Further observations established that the hot spots continued to heat up, further strengthening the theory that there is indeed volcanic activity in the planet.
In the past, the Magellan, another mission sent to Venus, discovered mountains that resembled volcanoes. Evidences also showed that lava have flowed on the surface of the planet. On the other hand, the Pioneer Venus Orbiter discovered sulfur dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere which is a type of gas that usually comes from volcanoes.
James Head, a geologist from Brown University said the discovery is exciting, noting that:
“This is a major finding that helps us understand the evolution of planets like our own.”
So yes, it is highly probable that the volcanoes in Venus are still spewing lava.
If the evidences further confirm the existence of active volcanoes in Venus, then it would be the third planet in the solar system to have that with the other two being Earth and Jupiter’s moon. How the planet had these active volcanoes in the first place and what drives the volcanism will be other interesting topics the scientists could explore later on.