Map showing global distribution of volcanoes on Venus.
Global distribution of about 85,000 volcanoes on Venus mapped using Magellan data, color coded by diameter and certainty of identification. Yellow polygons show regions of high clustering of volcanoes less than 20 kilometers diameter. Major physiographic/crustal features are shown in gray for context. Credit: Hahn and Byrne [2023], Figure 5
Editors’ Highlights are summaries of recent papers by AGU’s journal editors.
Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets

The upcoming decade should prove to be a watershed moment in our current knowledge of Venus’ planetary evolution, with three new missions (DAVINCI+, VERITAS, EnVision) planned to investigate features of the surface and atmosphere. In advance of those missions, Hahn and Byrne [2023] undertook a detailed and painstaking study of Magellan radar data to identify and characterize about 85,000 volcanic edifices on our sister planet, a number that is about 50 times larger than previous Venus volcano inventories. If correct, the number of edifices is an order of magnitude larger than what has been mapped on Earth so far.

The authors also provide morphometric analyses of their catalog entries from Magellan altimetry data that help constrain magma volumes and landform types. Spatial statistical analyses reveal clustering and variability across the globe that likely reflect variations in magma availability and ascent rates and may also provide new information regarding the role of tectonic stresses in Venus’ volcanic evolution. This new data set provides an improved foundation on which new hypotheses could be formed and potentially tested by upcoming missions.

Citation: Hahn, R. M., & Byrne, P. K. (2023). A morphological and spatial analysis of volcanoes on Venus. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 128, e2023JE007753.

—A. Deanne Rogers, Editor, JGR: Planets

Text © 2023. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Except where otherwise noted, images are subject to copyright. Any reuse without express permission from the copyright owner is prohibited.