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Corona structures on Venus point to widespread volcanic activity, need for further exploration

Venus, our neighboring planet of 25 million miles on its closest approach, is full of surprises. Having a similar mass, size, and proximity to the Sun, it’s often referred to as Earth’s “Sister Planet.” However, the terrain and atmosphere are vastly different, having 92 times the atmospheric pressure of that present on Earth, large slab-like rocks, and mountain-like structures throughout the planet.

Venus provides keen insight into the further understanding of early Earth geodynamics’ development based on a study conducted by Anna Gülcher on data collected from the Magellan Mission (1989-1994). The planet features numerous large Corona structures which form when plumes of rising hot mantle force the crust upward. The structure will collapse as the center cools, and as the molten material leaks out the side, a crown-like structure is left behind.

The study of the numerical models revealed different plume activity styles, and “corona structures related to ongoing plume-lithosphere interaction (active) are profoundly different from fossil corona structures (inactive).” Also revealed were broad, concentrated regions of ongoing plume activity in the southern hemisphere similar to that of the “Ring of Fire” here on Earth.  

Active Volcanic Structures on Venus

This evidence presented gives weight to the argument that Venus has significant ongoing geological activity, which may resemble the internal dynamics of Earth more than initially thought. Although this assessment provides crucial insight into the development cycles of planetary geodynamics, it also justifies the need for further missions in the planning stages to understand the development lifecycle of terrestrial planets.