New York, June 19 (IANS) Venus, the Earth’s nearest neighbour may be volcanically active, suggests new research that found temoprary spikes in temperature at several spots on the planet’s surface.
The hotspots, which were found to flash and fade over the course of just a few days, appear to be generated by active flows of lava on the surface, the researchers said.
“We were able to show strong evidence that Venus is volcanically, and thus internally, active today,” said study co-author James Head, geologist at Brown University in the US.
“This is a major finding that helps us understand the evolution of planets like our own.”
The research was published online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The hotspots turned up in thermal imaging taken by the European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft’s Venus Monitoring Camera.
The data showed spikes in temperature of several hundred degrees Fahrenheit in spots ranging in size from one square km to over 200 km.
The latest result is consistent with other data from Venus Express that has hinted at very recent volcanic activity.
“The observation of hotspots by Venus Express makes a strong case for a volcanically active Venus.”