Vir-Ava Chasma, Venus

Posted by Les Bleamaster, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona, USA.

(Re-posted from IAG Image of the month, July 2007)

This false color, three-dimensional perspective view over the Turan Planum of Venus shows the interaction of tectonic structures and volcanic processes along chasmata or “rifts.”


Foreground is approximately 400 km, with a vertical exaggeration of 8x.

The image, made by draping a Magellan synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mosaic over Magellan altimetry data, shows relatively flat volcanic fields that lie centrally along an elongate topographic trough, the Vir-Ava Chasma. Many of the linear features running from the bottom to the top of the image are faults and fractures. Detailed geologic and structural mapping has determined that the structural development along the Vir-Ava Chasma and the volcanic activity in Turan Planum are intimately related and may be responsible for significant transport of material and heat to the surface of Venus. If Venus is still active today, chasmata most likely represent the hotbed of geologic activity. The Vir-Ava Chasma, interpreted as an intrusive complex similar to those observed in Hawaii, Iceland, and Africa, holds important keys to unraveling the elusive secrets of Venus’ thermal and geologic histories.

Bleamaster, L.F., and Hansen, V.L., The Kuanja/Vir-ava Chasmata: A coherent intrusive complex on Venus, Lunar Planetary Science Conference XXXII, Abstract # 1316, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX (CD-ROM), 2001.

Squyres, S.W., Janes, D.M., Baer, G., Bindschader, D.L., Schubert, G, Sharpton, V.L., and Stofan, E.R., The morphology and evolution of coronae on Venus, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 97, p. 13611-13634, 1992.

Stofan, E.R., Hamilton, V.E., Janes, D.M., and Smrekar, S.E., Coronae on Venus: Morphology and origin, Venus II, Bougher, S.W., Hunten, D.M., and Phillips, R.J. (eds.), p. 931-965, Univ. Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona, 1997.

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