Recent research has revealed that Venus exhibits more volcanic activity than previously understood. Scientists analyzed radar images collected by NASA’s Magellan spacecraft between 1990 and 1992 and identified evidence of eruptions at two additional sites on Venus’ surface. These findings challenge existing knowledge about the planet’s volcanic behavior, suggesting it may be more dynamic than previously assumed. The study, led by planetary scientist Davide Sulcanese from d’Annunzio University in Italy and published in Nature Astronomy, indicates substantial lava flows in the northern hemisphere of Venus, comparable in scale to Earth’s volcanic activity. The two newly identified volcanic sites are Sif Mons, a massive volcano spanning approximately 200 miles (300 km) in Eistla Regio, and a large volcanic plain in Niobe Planitia. These locations exhibit shield volcanoes characterized by gentle slopes formed from fluid lava flows. The analysis estimates that these lava flows covered areas of about 12 square miles (30 square km) near Sif Mons and 17 square miles (45 square km) in Niobe Planitia.

A detailed examination of radar data revealed linear features and sinuous patterns in the lava flows, indicating their directional flow corresponding to the slopes of the terrain. The study highlights the significance of advanced technology in analyzing Magellan’s data, which extensively mapped Venus’ surface. Researchers believe these findings deepen the grasp of Venusian geology and its ongoing geological activities. They anticipate that upcoming NASA and European Space Agency missions will offer additional insights into the contrasting developmental trajectories of Venus and Earth, despite their similar characteristics. This understanding of Venus’ volcanic activity also enhances knowledge of planetary thermal evolution, surface dynamics, and atmospheric interactions, crucial for comprehending its extreme environmental conditions.