Powerful volcanic activity discovered on Venus

Powerful volcanic activity discovered on Venus
Powerful volcanic activity discovered on Venus

Last fall, scientists discovered phosphine in the planet's upper atmosphere. Now scientists have found that the presence of this gas is associated with intense volcanic processes in the bowels of the planet.

Last year, astrophysicists found phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus, but then they could not even assume that it would confirm the more than 40-year-old hypothesis of explosive volcanic eruptions on the planet.

Phosphine (PH3), found earlier in the atmosphere of Venus, was initially taken for the signature of living organisms - on Earth, it is they who produce this gas. But the likelihood of the biological origin of phosphine was negligible, given the literally devastating conditions on our neighboring planet. Therefore, researchers began to look for another explanation for the origin of this gas.

New work suggests that PH3 trails could be some sort of indicators of powerful volcanic events on Venus. The logic is this: if phosphides exist in the deep mantle of the planet - binary compounds of phosphorus with metals - then during volcanic eruptions they should enter the atmosphere and interact with sulfuric acid vapors, forming sulfates and phosphine.

Scientists at Cornell University have found that for such a mechanism to occur, volcanic eruptions on Venus must be very powerful. The authors confirmed their calculations with models of redox processes in the planet's mantle, which allow the release of phosphides as a result of explosive events. Using satellite imagery and remote sensing data, the researchers also showed signs of volcanic activity on Venus. This confirms the point of view of scientists.

In 1978, during NASA's first mission to orbit Venus, scientists discovered several forms of sulfur dioxide in the upper atmosphere of Venus. This was the first sign of explosive volcanism. However, no one suspected that the presence of PH3 would become new evidence of the possibility of such large-scale geological events on the planet.