Report

Recent Hot-Spot Volcanism on Venus from VIRTIS Emissivity Data

Science  08 Apr 2010:
pp.
DOI: 10.1126/science.1186785

Abstract

The questions of whether or not Venus is geologically active and how the planet has resurfaced over the last billion years have major implications for interior dynamics and climate change. Nine “hot spots,” areas analogous to Hawaii with volcanism, broad topographic rises, and large positive gravity anomalies suggesting mantle plumes at depth, have been identified as possibly active. This study uses variations in thermal emissivity of the surface by the Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS) on the ESA Venus Express spacecraft to identify compositional differences in lava flows at three hot spots. The anomalies are interpreted as a lack of surface weathering. We estimate the flows to be younger than 250 ky, and probably much younger, indicating that Venus is actively resurfacing.