Does Venus Have Volcanoes?

by Fraser Cain on May 16, 2008


Our planet is an active world geologically. We have volcanoes constantly erupting across the planet, especially in the regions where plate tectonics are most active. Wherever one plate is sliding against another plate, or one is passing underneath another, you can expect to see volcanoes erupting.

Since Venus is such a hellish world, with incredibly hot temperatures and hot pressures, does Venus have volcanoes?

Venus certainly did have volcanoes in the past. Planetary scientists have identified more than 1,600 major volcanoes or volcanic features on Venus. And there almost too many smaller ones to count. So Venus did have volcanoes.

But does Venus have any volcanoes right now? Unfortunately, we just don’t have enough data to go on. Venus is shrouded in thick clouds of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere, so you can’t have an orbiter easily take photographs of the planet’s surface.

There is no water on the surface of Venus, and scientists know that the planet has no plate tectonics, like we have here on Earth. There are no continents. And so Venus doesn’t have the same regions of volcanism as we have on Earth.

So right now, scientists have no idea if there are volcanoes on Venus. There could be a few spotty regions across the planet, where there is some activity, but none have been seen erupting in the present.

About 

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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