Venus may be experiencing volcano blasts

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VOLCANOES may be erupting on the planet Venus, scientists believe.

Surges in levels of sulphur dioxide high in the planet’s atmosphere could be an indication of volcanic activity.

Venus is covered by hundreds of volcanoes, but whether any are still active today is a hotly debated question.

An earlier study of infrared radiation from the surface of Venus suggested that one volcano may have erupted in the planet’s recent past.

For the new study, researchers analysed six years of sulphur dioxide observations by the European Space Agency orbiter Venus Express.

Venus Express investigator Dr Jean-Loup Bertaux said: “A volcanic eruption could act like a piston to blast sulphur dioxide up to these levels, but peculiarities in the circulation of the planet that we don’t yet fully understand could also mix the gas to reproduce the same result.”