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Published April 1981 | Published
Journal Article Open

Plate tectonics on Venus


The high surface temperature of Venus implies a permanently buoyant lithosphere and a thick basaltic crust. Terrestrial style tectonics with deep subduction and crustal recycling is not possible. Overthickened basaltic crust partially melts instead of converting to eclogite. Because mantle magmas do not have convenient access to the surface the ^(40)Ar abundance in the atmosphere should be low. Venus may provide an analog to Archean tectonics on the Earth.

Additional Information

© 1981 by the American Geophysical Union. Paper number 1L0179. Received October 20, 1980; accepted January 20, 1981. This research was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Grant No. NGL05-002-069 and the Earth Sciences Section of the National Science Foundation, Grant No. EAR77-14675. Brad Hager made many helpful suggestions for the improvement of the manuscript. Contribution No. 3504, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125.

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August 19, 2023
October 20, 2023