In the 1990s, the Magellan probe mapped the surface of Venus. Taking this data through ArcGIS, a geological analysis software not available at the time, two researchers from the University of Washington made a precise catalog of Venus’ volcanoes.
theirs MapAvailable in free access to researchers, it establishes the distribution of 85,000 volcanoes whose diameters are between less than 5 km and 100 km.
Only 1,000 of them exceed 100 km in diameter. Recall that a few days ago, Magellan’s data revealed recent volcanic activity on Venus.
” With the recent discovery of active volcanism on Venus, understanding where volcanoes are concentrated on the planet, how many there are, and how big they are is becoming increasingly important. “, explains Paul Byrne, professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of Washington, co-author of the study.
It is the most comprehensive document on volcanic activity on any planet, including Earth. In fact, the researchers point out that we don’t have such detailed maps because we haven’t yet charted the volcanoes on our planet’s ocean floor.
Work in progress
And according to them, there may be even larger volcanoes or volcanic landforms whose size is too small to be seen at the level of resolution provided by Magellan’s radar images.
Both researchers encourage their colleagues to continue this analytical work from the map. ” Others will ask questions we don’t, about the shape, size and distribution of volcanoes, the timing of their activity in different parts of the planet, and so on. I can’t wait to see what they can find thanks to the new database! », exults Paul Byrne.
He also hopes that future Venus missions planned for the 2030s will refine this knowledge with microscopic images.
ESA planned to launch the mission Imagination In the early 2030s, NASA confirmed these missions Veritas (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, INSAR, Topography and Spectroscopy) and DaVinci+ (A study of deep atmosphere Venus noble gases, chemistry and imaging), but was initially postponed due to budget constraints. It is not known whether the US space agency will be able to restart the program in a few years.