Recent research has uncovered more volcanic activity on Venus than was previously known. Scientists studied radar images from NASA’s Magellan spacecraft (1990-1992) and found evidence of eruptions at two new sites on Venus. This challenges what was thought about the planet’s volcanoes, suggesting they might be more active than previously thought. The study, led by Davide Sulcanese from Italy’s d’Annunzio University and published in Nature Astronomy, reveals large lava flows in Venus’ northern hemisphere, similar in scale to Earth’s volcanic activity. The newly discovered sites are Sif Mons, a huge volcano about 200 miles (300 km) wide in Eistla Regio, and a large volcanic plain in Niobe Planitia. These locations have shield volcanoes with gentle slopes formed by flowing lava. The analysis estimates the lava covered about 12 square miles (30 square km) near Sif Mons and 17 square miles (45 square km) in Niobe Planitia. A detailed radar examination showed straight and curving patterns in the lava flows, indicating they followed the terrain’s slopes.

This study underscores how advanced technology helps analyze Magellan’s data, which mapped Venus extensively. Scientists hope upcoming NASA and European Space Agency missions will provide more insights into Venus and Earth’s different geological histories, despite their similarities. Understanding Venus’ volcanoes also improves knowledge of planetary heat changes, surface movements, and atmospheric effects, all critical for comprehending its extreme environment.