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Book Chapter

A pyroclastic flow deposit on Venus

By
Richard C. Ghail
Richard C. Ghail
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
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Lionel Wilson
Lionel Wilson
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2015

Abstract

Explosive volcanism on Venus is severely inhibited by its high atmospheric pressure and lack of water. This paper shows that a deposit located near 16°S, 145°E, here referred to as Scathach Fluctus, displays a number of morphological characteristics consistent with a pyroclastic flow deposit. These characteristics, particularly the lack of channelization and evidence for momentum- rather than cooling-limited flow length, contrast with fissure-fed lava flow deposits. The total erupted volume is estimated to have been between 225 and 875 km3 but this may have been emplaced in more than one event. Interaction between Scathach Fluctus and a small volcanic cone constrains the flow velocity to 48 m s−1, and plausible volatile concentrations to at least 1.8 wt% H2O, 4.3 wt% CO2 or 6.1 wt% SO2, the latter two values implying that magma was sourced directly from the mantle. The deposit has radar characteristics, particularly an exponential backscatter function, that are similar to those of nearly half the planetary surface, implying that pyroclastic deposits may be much more common on Venus than has been recognized to date, and suggesting both a relatively volatile-rich mantle and a volcanic source for atmospheric SO2.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Volcanism and Tectonism Across the Inner Solar System

T. Platz
T. Platz
Planetary Science Institute, USA
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M. Massironi
M. Massironi
Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy
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P. K. Byrne
P. K. Byrne
Lunar and Planetary Institute, USA
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H. Hiesinger
H. Hiesinger
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universitä Münster, Germany
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Geological Society of London
Volume
401
ISBN electronic:
9781862396777
Publication date:
January 01, 2015

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