Venus Express detects volcanic gas

April 4, 2008 at 11:09 PM
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PARIS, April 4 (UPI) -- The European Space Agency said the Venus Express spacecraft has detected sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere of Venus.

The finding could be evidence of active volcanoes, the agency said Friday in a release.

While some scientists have said sulfur dioxide found by previous Venus missions provides evidence of recent volcanic eruptions, others maintain the eruptions could have happened 10 million years ago because it takes such a long time for the sulfur compounds to react with surface rocks, the agency said.

ESA said new data showing rapid variations of sulfur dioxide in the upper atmosphere have reopened the scientific debate.

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