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Scientists Reveal there are 85,000 Volcanos on Venus

Radar view of Nuwa Campus, located in the Venus lowlands, and its tectonic structures. Credit: PAUL K. BYRNE / SEAN C. SOLOMON

The researchers claim that their study has produced the most all-encompassing record of Venus' volcanic structures to date.

Unearthing Venus: 85,000 Volcanoes Discovered on Earth’s Twin Planet

Utilizing radar images from NASA’s Magellan mission, scientists at Washington University in Saint Louis have identified 85,000 volcanoes on Venus, providing the most detailed understanding of the volcanic properties of any planet to date.

NASA’s Magellan Mission Unveils Thousands of Venusian Volcanoes

The Magellan mission’s radar images enabled planetary scientists de Paul Byrne and Jessica Hahn to catalog a staggering 85,000 volcanoes on Venus, with 99% of them measuring less than 5 kilometers in diameter. Their study, published in JGR Planets, delves into the locations, clustering patterns, and spatial distributions of these volcanoes in relation to the planet’s geophysical properties, including crust thickness.

Unprecedented Understanding of Volcanic Features on Venus

The researchers’ findings offer the most comprehensive insight into the volcanic properties of Venus and possibly any other celestial body’s volcanism. This breakthrough comes on the heels of recent discoveries of active volcanism on Venus, made possible by innovative analyses of 1990s Magellan mission data.

Exploring Venus’ Smaller, Overlooked Volcanoes

Byrne and Hahn focused on the lesser-studied smaller volcanoes on Venus, specifically those with diameters under 5 kilometers, which have often been overlooked in previous investigations. Hahn explained that these smaller volcanoes make up about 99% of their dataset. The researchers employed various spatial statistics to examine the distribution of these volcanoes and determine whether they are clustered around other Venusian structures or concentrated in specific regions.

A Conservative Estimate of Venus’ Volcanic Landscape

Although the discovery of 85,000 volcanoes on Venus may seem like a significant figure, Hahn believes this number is actually a conservative estimate. She postulates that there could be hundreds of thousands of additional geological features exhibiting volcanic properties hidden on the Venusian surface, which are too small to be detected. Hahn added that a 1-kilometer-diameter volcano would only be 7 pixels wide in the Magellan data, making it difficult to discern. However, with improved resolution, these smaller structures could be revealed and further expand our understanding of Venus’ volcanic landscape.

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