Evidence for Active Volcanoes on the Surface of Venus

The research paper is “Surface changes observed on a Venusian volcano during the Magellan mission”, with full text available at the link. Here is the abstract.

Venus has a geologically young surface, but it is unknown whether it has ongoing active volcanism. From 1990 to 1992, the Magellan spacecraft imaged the planet’s surface using synthetic aperture radar. We examine volcanic areas on Venus that were imaged two or three times by Magellan and identify a ~2.2 km² volcanic vent that changed shape in the eight months between two radar images. Additional volcanic flows downhill from the vent are visible in the second epoch images, though we cannot rule out that they were present but invisible in the first epoch due to differences in imaging geometry. We interpret these results as ongoing volcanic activity on Venus.

Here is more information on the Magellan spacecraft, which was put together from spare parts left over from from other planetary spacecraft projects and mapped Venus between 1990 and 1994 with synthetic aperture radar able to see through the dense clouds that shroud the planet.

Lunar and planetary missions have collected vast quantities of data, much of which have never been examined in detail. This discovery in data collected thirty years ago indicates there may be other surprises just waiting for a bored researcher or independent scientist to stumble upon.