Venus volcanism and El Chichon



Reinterpretations of telemetry data returned to earth from the Pioneer Venus Orbiter suggest that the surface of Venus may be characterized by violent immense volcanic activity. L.W. Esposito has made an interactive analysis of Pioneer ultraviolet spectral data and similar data from the earth's atmosphere [Science, 223, 1072–1074, 1984]. Spacecraft analysis of sulfur dioxide in the earth's upper atmosphere, apparently released by El Chich[acu]on, Mexico, in March 1982 (EOS, June 14, 1983, p. 411, and August 16, 1983, p. 506) prompted reanalysis of accumulated Pioneer ultraviolet data. Massive injections of sulfur dioxide into the Venus atmosphere could be the result of volcanic eruptions about the size of the Krakatoa explosive eruption that took place between Java and Summatra in 1883.