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Geologic mapping, morphometric characterization, and statistical analyses of six venusian shield fields: Insights into the processes related to their formation

By
Cole Nypaver
Cole Nypaver
Department of Geology, Mercyhurst University, 501 E. 38th Street, Erie, Pennsylvania 16546, USA
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Nicholas P. Lang
Nicholas P. Lang
Department of Geology, Mercyhurst University, 501 E. 38th Street, Erie, Pennsylvania 16546, USA
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Bradley J. Thomson
Bradley J. Thomson
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee–Knoxville, 1621 Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-1410, USA
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Publication history
29 December 201710 July 2018

ABSTRACT

Small shield volcanoes with basal diameters <20 km represent the most abundant type of volcano on Venus. These shield volcanoes number >>106 in population and often occur in clusters known as shield fields, which have been interpreted to be analogous to basaltic volcanic fields on Earth. Despite previous work on shield fields, questions related to edifice morphology and magma viscosity, timing relations of events across an individual field, volume of erupted material, and the role of tectonic structures are still unresolved. Here, we address those questions through geologic mapping, volumetric calculations, and statistical analysis of possible edifice alignments in six venusian shield fields: Asherat Colles, Chernava Colles, Monoshi Tholus, Nordenflycht Patera, Ran Colles, and Urutonga Colles. Our results indicate that all of these shield fields and their associated deposits are younger than the surrounding units within the mapping areas, and each field displays overlapping temporal relations with local extensional and contractional structures. Each field also displays a lack of a consistent pattern in the temporal distribution of volcanism with regards to edifice type. Analyses of possible edifice alignments suggest edifice trends that are consistent with mapped tectonic structures within all studied fields except Asherat Colles. Comparison of these six venusian fields to terrestrial basaltic volcanic fields shows that venusian fields may be up to two to three orders of magnitude largerin their areal expanse and volume of erupted material. Our results are consistent with previous interpretations of venusian shield fields representing low rates (likely <5 × 10–4 km3/yr) of magma supply feeding these magmatic centers and highlight the effects of the resolution limit of the Magellan data set on interpreting fundamental geologic processes on the venusian surface.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Field Volcanology: A Tribute to the Distinguished Career of Don Swanson

Geological Society of America
Volume
538
ISBN electronic:
9780813795386

GeoRef

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