Constraints On The Production Of Phosphine By Venusian Volcanoes

By Keith Cowing
December 2, 2021
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Constraints On The Production Of Phosphine By Venusian Volcanoes
Venusian Volcano

The initial reports of the presence of phosphine in the cloud decks of Venus has led to the suggestion that volcanism was the source of phosphine, through volcanic phosphides ejected into the clouds.

Here we examine the idea that mantle plume volcanism, bringing material from the deep mantle to the surface, could generate observed amounts of phosphine through interaction of explosively erupted phosphide with sulfuric acid clouds.

Direct eruption of deep mantle phosphide is unphysical, but shallower material could contain traces of phosphide, and could be erupted to the surface. Explosive eruption that efficiently transported material to the clouds would require ocean:magma interactions or subduction of hydrated oceanic crust, neither of which occur on modern Venus.

The transport of erupted material to altitudes coinciding with the observations of phosphine is consequently very inefficient. Using the model proposed by Truong and Lunine as a base case, we estimate that an eruption volume of at least 21,600 km3/year would be required to explain the presence of 1 ppb phosphine in the clouds. This is greater than any historical terrestrial eruption rate, and would have several detectable consequences for remote and in situ observations to confirm. More realistic lithospheric chemistry or atmospheric photochemistry require even more volcanism.

William Bains, Oliver Shorttle, Sukrit Ranjan, Paul B. Rimmer, Janusz J. Petkowski, Jane S. Greaves, Sara Seager

Comments: The paper expands on and confirms the results of Bains et al. 2021 arXiv:2009.06499 and provides further constrains on the model of the production of phosphine on Venus proposed by Truong and Lunine this https URL
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Geophysics (physics.geo-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:2112.00140 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2112.00140v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Janusz Petkowski
[v1] Tue, 30 Nov 2021 22:24:52 UTC (566 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻