Surface of Venus

Article written: 15 May , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

The surface of Venus is a hellish place, with vast regions shaped by volcanic activity. In fact, Venus has many more volcanoes than Earth. It has more than 150 regions across the planet shaped by volcanoes.

And from this, you would think that Venus is more volcanic than Earth, but actually, it’s just that the regions of volcanic activity weren’t covered up as they have been here on Earth. The surface of Earth is constantly reshaped by tectonic activity, where plates on the crust of the planet float atop a layer of magma. These plates can slide underneath one another, and any features on the surface are destroyed.

For some reason, plate tectonics on Venus stopped billions of years ago. Planetary scientists think that the high temperatures on Venus shut down the cycle of plate tectonics. Volcanic features created on the planet billions of years ago are still visible, while they would have been obscured long ago on Earth.

Scientists think there is still active volcanism on Venus.

There are more than 1,000 impact craters on Venus, distributed across the planet. While craters are eroded here on Earth, they’re still in pristine condition on Venus. The craters range in size from 3 km to 280 km in diameter.

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