In June 2021, researchers used radar images from the Magellan spacecraft to show that crustal blocks on the Venusian surface jostle against one another like blocks of pack ice on a lake.1 This is just one of multiple lines of evidence that Venus is geologically active, and thus looks younger than expected.2
Based on data obtained from the Magellan spacecraft, uniformitarian astronomers have long believed (despite their general aversion to catastrophism in geology) that a catastrophe re-paved the Venusian surface 500-700 million years ago.3 One of the main arguments for this view is the small number of craters on Venus, as well as the fact that these craters seem relatively pristine. Since secular astronomers think the solar system endured heavy meteorite bombardments billions of years ago, they saw this as evidence that the Venusian surface was repaved in the relatively recent past.3
Based on this belief, secular scientists concluded that Venus should now be geologically dead.4 This is because Venus does not have plate tectonics the way Earth does. Earth’s plate tectonic system efficiently transfers energy from the Earth’s interior to the surface. But without plate tectonics on Venus, heat would theoretically continue building up until within the mantle until large sections of the mantle quickly melted, causing global lava flows one to three kilometers deep.5,6 Afterward, the planet would be geologically stagnant, so much so that such a catastrophic event might never happen again. Hence, secular scientists were expecting Venus to be geologically inactive.5 Except that it apparently isn’t!
Although the geological stagnancy of Venus has been the majority view since the 1990s,5 some now contest it. Instead, they suggest that multiple lava flows over time shaped the Venusian surface, rather than a single enormous Venusian catastrophe.6 In that case, the above argument may not apply and active volcanism on Venus may not necessarily be a problem for uniformitarianism.
In any case, it is worth pointing out that this is just one in a long list of solar system discoveries that surprised secular scientists. They were surprised that Mercury had a magnetic field.7 They were surprised that our Moon is still geologically active, and that lunar rockfalls are still occurring.8,9 They were surprised by Jupiter’s moon Io, Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Saturn’s moon Titan, and the appearance of Saturn’s rings.10-12 They were surprised that Pluto is geologically active.13 They have even been surprised by planets in other solar systems!14
Many secular scientific predictions about our solar system were just flat-out wrong. And what do these wrong predictions have in common? They were based on a belief in evolution and deep time. Given such a poor track record, isn’t it about time to try something else? In contrast, creation physicist Russell Humphreys has made multiple successful predictions about the magnetism of bodies in our solar system.15-16
Recent volcanism on Venus may or may not be a problem for deep time, but it is hardly surprising, and definitely not a problem to be solved, if the Lord Jesus created Venus just thousands of years ago, as Scripture indicates.
1. ‘Pack ice’ tectonics reveal Venus’ geological secrets. ScienceDaily. Posted on sciencedaily.com June 21, 2021, accessed July 14, 2021.
2. Hebert, J. Venus May Be Geologically Active. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org August 13, 2020, accessed July 13, 2021.
3. “Venus Unveiled.” Nova. 1995; PBS, 1995. Transcript.
4. Thompson, A. Volcanoes on Venus May be Young and Active. Space.com. Posted on Space.com April 8, 2010, accessed July 24, 2020.
5. Denton, A. The Venus Controversy. The Planetary Society. Posted on planetary.org August 14, 2018, accessed July 14, 2021.
6. Shiga, D. Venus’s surface may be much older than thought. New Scientist. Posted on newscientist.com November 2, 2006, accessed July 14, 2021.
7. Choi, C. Q. The Enduring Mysteries of Mercury. Space. Posted on space.com January 14, 2008, accessed July 14, 2021.
8. Hebert, J. Moon is Unexpectedly Still Cooling and Shrinking. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org June 6, 2019, accessed July 13, 2021.
9. Hebert, J. Billions of Years of Lunar Rockfalls? Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org June 19, 2020, accessed July 13, 2021.
10. Hebert, J. 2013. Youthful Solar System Bodies Puzzle Evolutionary Scientists. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org February 13, 2013, accessed July 13, 2021.
11. Hebert, J. 2018. Secular Scientists Dumbfounded by Saturn’s Young Rings. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org January 8, 2018, accessed July 13, 2021.
12. Hebert, J. 2021. Reminder: Saturn’s Moon Titan Really Looks Young. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org February 8, 2021, accessed July 13, 2021.
13. Parnell, B-A. Pluto is Still Geologically Active and Scientists Have No Idea How. Forbes. Posted on forbes.com October 16, 2015, accessed July 14, 2021.
14. Hebert, J. 2020. Hot Neptune Atmosphere “Shouldn’t Exist”. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org November 5, 2020, accessed July 14, 2021.
15. Humphreys, D. R. 1990. Beyond Neptune: Voyager II Supports Creation. Acts & Facts. 19 (5).
16. Humphreys, D. R. 2008. The Creation of Cosmic Magnetic Fields. In Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Creationism. A. A. Snelling, ed. Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship and Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, 213-230.
*Dr. Hebert is Research Scientist at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Dallas.
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