Friday, October 27, 2023 at 10:30am CT
Speaker: Indujaa Ganesh, Research Assistant Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute
Host: Cyril Grima
Title: Volcanism on Venus: tools for studying past and potentially ongoing activity
Abstract: Prior spacecraft and Earth-based observations of Venus have revealed a planet with a dense carbon dioxide-dominated atmosphere, extreme ambient temperature and pressure conditions, a young surface, abundant volcanic landforms, and a lack of Earth-style plate tectonics. Studies in the immediate aftermath of the Magellan mission to Venus hypothesized that Venus today is “dry” and “dead”, i.e., depleted in interior water, and volcanically inactive following planet-wide cataclysmic eruptions ~500 Myr ago. Over the past decade, these early notions of a “dry” planet have been challenged by numerous works which collectively argue for a volatile-rich lower mantle. A recent study identified surface changes in repeat imaging data suggesting that Venus might be volcanically active today (Herrick and Hensley, 2023). From understanding the evolution and habitability of rocky planets to gaining insights into processes that occur in extreme environments on Earth, investigating the volcanic modification of Venus’ surface has a wide range of implications that extend beyond just improving our understanding of Venus. In this talk, I will discuss studies of volcanism on Venus with specific emphasis on models and tools for investigating past and potentially ongoing eruptions on Venus. I will also elaborate on how such studies fit the interests of the broader planetary and Earth science community, and support upcoming spacecraft missions to Venus.