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Small domes on Venus: Probable analogs of Icelandic lava shields

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Abstract

On the basis of observed shapes and volumetric estimates, we interpret small, dome-like features on radar images of Venus to be analogs of Icelandic lava-shield volcanoes. Using morphometric data for venusian domes in Aubele and Slyuta (in press), as well as our own measurements of representative dome volumes and areas from Tethus Regio, we demonstrate that the characteristic aspect ratios and flank slopes of these features are consistent with a subclass of low Icelandic lava-shield volcanoes (LILS ). LILS are slightly convex in cross-section with typical flank slopes of ∼3°. Plausible lava-shield-production rates for the venusian plains suggest formation of ∼53 million shields over the past 0.25 Ga. The cumulative global volume of lava that would be associated with this predicted number of lava shields is only a factor of 3–4 times that of a single oceanic composite shield volcano such as Mauna Loa. The global volume of all venusian lava shields in the 0.5–20-km size range would only contribute a meter of resurfacing over geologically significant time scales. Thus, venusian analogs to LILS may represent the most abundant landform on the globally dominant plains of Venus, but would be insignificant with regard to the global volume of lava extruded. As in Iceland, associated lavas from fissure eruptions probably dominate plains volcanism and should be evident on the higher resolution Magellan radar images.

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