Earth, Moon, and Planets

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 193–249 | Cite as

Lakshmi Planum, Venus: Characteristics and models of origin

  • Kari M. Roberts
  • James W. Head
Part 3 Regional Geology


Lakshmi Planum is distinctive and unique on the surface of Venus as an expansive (~2 × 106km2), relatively smooth, flat plateau containing two large shield volcanoes and abundant volcanic plains in the midst of a region of extreme relief. It rises 3–5 km above the datum and is surrounded on all sides by bands of mountains interpreted to be of compressional tectonic origin. The major units mapped on Lakshmi are volcanic edifices, smooth, ridged and grooved plains units, and structural units referred to as ridged terrain. Three styles of volcanism are observed to dominate the surface of Lakshmi. Distributed effusive volcanism is associated with extensive plains deposits and many of the small shields, domes and cones mapped within the plateau. Centralized effusive volcanism is primarily associated with the paterae, Colette and Sacajawea, and their circumferential low-shield-forming deposits. The precise origin and evolution of these unusually large and complex structures is not understood, although a catastrophic, explosive origin is unlikely. Pyroclastic volcanism may be represented by a unit referred to as the “diffuse halo”. The origin and evolution of Lakshmi Planum is closely related to its compressional tectonic environment; volcanism on Lakshmi has occurred synchronously with tectonism in the surrounding orogenic belts. A model for the origin and evolution of Lakshmi Planum consisting of a continuous sequence of convergence and horizontal shortening of crustal segments against a preexisting block of tessera seems best able to account for the elevation, plateau shape and irregular polygonal outline of Lakshmi, as well as the presence of ridged terrain and its resemblance to tessera. Volcanism on Lakshmi is proposed to be the result of basal melting of a thickened crustal root. According to this model, the origin and evolution of Lakshmi Planum has consisted of the following sequence of events: (1) formation of a large, elevated block of tessera surrounded by low-lying plains; (2) convergence and underthrusting of crustal segments to produce peripheral mountain ranges, thickening, and uplift of the plateau; and (3) basal melting of the thickened crust and underthrust material and surface volcanism that occurred synchronously with continued edge deformation.


Volcanic Edifice Shield Volcano Basal Melting Crustal Segment Crustal Root 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arvidson, R. E., Schulte, M., Kwok, R., Curlander, J., Elachi, C., Ford, J. P., and Saunders, R. S.: 1988, 'Construction and Analysis of Simulated Venera and Magellan Images of Venus, Icarus 75, 163–81.Google Scholar
  2. Aubele, J. C. and Head, J. W.: 1988, 'Characteristics of Domes on Venus and a Comparison with Terrestrial Cinder Cones and Oceanic Volcanic Edifices', (abstract). Lunar and Planet. Sci. XIX, 21–22.Google Scholar
  3. Barsukov, V. L., Basilevsky, A. T., Burba, G. A., Bobina, N. N., Kryuchkov, V. P., Kuzmin, R. O., Nikolaeva, O. V., Pronin, A. A., Ronca, L. B., Chernaya, I. M., Shashkina, V. P., Garanin, A. V., Kushky, E. R., Markov, M. S., Sukhanov, A. L., Kotelnikov, V. A., Rzhiga, O. N., Petrov, G. M., Alexandrov, Yu. N., Sidorenko, A. I., Bogomolov, A. F., Skrypnik, G. I., Bergman, M. Yu., Kudrin, L. V., Bokshtein, I. M., Kronrod, M. A., Chochia, P. A., Tyuflin, Yu. S., Kadnichansky, S. A., and Akim, E. L.: 1986, 'The Geology and Geomorphology of the Venus Surface as Revealed by the Radar Images obtained by Veneras 15 and 16', J. Geophys. Res. 91, D378–98.Google Scholar
  4. Basaltic Volcanism Study Project. Chap. 5. Basaltic Volcanism on the Terrestrial Planets, Pergamon Press, Inc., New York, 1286 pp., 1981.Google Scholar
  5. Basilevsky, A. T. and Head, J. W.: 1988, 'The Geology of Venus', Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 16, 295–317.Google Scholar
  6. Basilevsky, A. T., Bobina, N. N., Shashkina, V. P., Shkuratov, Yu. G., Kornienko, Yu. V., Stankevich, D. G.: 1982, 'On the Geological Processes on Venus: Analysis of the Relationship between Altitude and Degree of Surface Roughness', Earth, Moon and Planets 27, 63–89.Google Scholar
  7. Basilevsky, A. T., Pronin, A. A., Ronca, L. B., Kryuchkov, V. P., Sukhanov, A. L., and Markov, M. S.: 1986, 'Styles of Tectonic Deformations on Venus: Analysis of Venera 15 and 16 Data', J. Geophys. Res. 91, D399–411.Google Scholar
  8. Basilevsky, A. T., Ivanov, B. A., Burba, G. A., Chernaya, I. M., Kryuchkov, V. P., Nikolaeva, O. V., Campbell, D. B., and Ronca, L. B.: 1987, 'Impact Craters of Venus: A Continuation of the Analysis of Data from the Venera 15 and 16 Spacecraft', J. Geophys. Res. 92, 12,869–12,901.Google Scholar
  9. Bindschadler, D. L.: 1990, 'Models for the Origin of Tessera Terrain: A Study of the Tectonics of Venus', Ph.D. Thesis, Brown University, 237 pp.Google Scholar
  10. Bindschadler, D. L. and Head, J. W.: 1989a, 'Characterization of Venera 15/16 Geological Units from Pioneer Venus Roughness and Reflectivity Data', Icarus 77, 3–20.Google Scholar
  11. Bindschadler, D. L. and Head, J. W.: 1989b, 'Models for the Origin and Evolution of Tessera Terrain, Venus', (submitted to J. Geophys. Res.).Google Scholar
  12. Bindschadler, D. L. and Parmentier, E. M.: 1989, 'Mantle Flow Tectonics and the Influence of a Ductile Lower Crust: Implications for the Formation of Topographic Uplands on Venus' (submitted to J. Geophys. Res).Google Scholar
  13. Bird, P.: 1979, 'Continental Delamination and the Colorado Plateau', J. Geophys. Res. 84, 7561–7571.Google Scholar
  14. Campbell, D. B., Head, J. W., Harmon, J. K., and Hine, A. A.: 1983, 'Venus: Identification of Banded Terrain in the Mountains of Ishtar Terra', Science 221, 644–647.Google Scholar
  15. Campbell, D. B., Head, J. W., Harmon, J. K., Hine, A. A.: 1984, 'Venus: Volcanism and Rift Formation in Beta Regio', Science 226, 167–170.Google Scholar
  16. Carr, M. H.: 1984, Mars: pp. 207–263, in Carr, M.H. (ed.), The Geology of the Terrestrial Planets, NASA SP-469, NASA, Washington, D. C., 317 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Crisp, J. A.: 1984, 'Rates of Magma Emplacement and Volcanic Output', J. Volcan, and Geoth. Res. 20, 177–211.Google Scholar
  18. Crumpler, L. S., Head, J. W., and Campbell, D. B.: 1986, 'Orogenic Belts on Venus', Geology 14, 1031–34.Google Scholar
  19. Frey, H. and Jarosewich, M.: 1982, 'Subkilometer Martian Volcanoes: Properties and Possible Terrestrial Analogs', J. Geophys. Res. 87, 9867–9879.Google Scholar
  20. Fornari, D. J.: 1987, 'The Geomorphic and Structural Development of Hawaiian Submarine Rift Zones', in R. W. Decker, T. L. Wright, and P. H. Stauffer (eds.), Volcanism in Hawaii, vol. 1, U.S.G.S. prof, paper 1350, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., pp.125–132.Google Scholar
  21. Gaddis, L. R.: 1989, 'Estimates of Minimum Lava Flow Eruption Rates on Venus', (abstract) Lunar Planet. Sci. XX, 317–318.Google Scholar
  22. Gaddis, L., Mourginis-Mark, P., Singer, R., and Kaupp, V.: 1989, 'Geologic Analysis of Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR-B) Data of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii', Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., 101, 317–332.Google Scholar
  23. Head, J. W.: 1986, 'Ishtar Terra, Venus: A Simple Model of Large-Scale Tectonic Convergence, Crustal Thickening, and Possible Delamination', (abstract), Lunar Planet. Sci. XVII, 323–324.Google Scholar
  24. Head, J. W.: 1990a, 'The Formation of Mountain Belts on Venus: Evidence for Large-Scale Convergence, Underthrusting, and Crustal Imbrication in Freyja Montes, Ishtar Terra', Geology 18, 99–102.Google Scholar
  25. Head, J. W.: 1990b, 'Venus Trough-and-Ridge Tessera: Analog to Earth Oceanic Crust Formed at Spreading Centers?', J. Geophys. Res. 95, 7119–7132.Google Scholar
  26. Head, J. W. and Crumpler, L. S.: 1987, 'Evidence for Divergent Plate-Boundary Characteristics and Crustal Spreading on Venus', Science 238, 1380–85.Google Scholar
  27. Head, J. W. and Crumpler, L. S.: 1989, 'Divergent Plate Boundary Characteristics and Crustal Spreading in Aphrodite Terra, Venus: A Test of some Predictions', Earth, Moon, and Planets 44, 219–231.Google Scholar
  28. Head, J. W. and Crumpler, L. S.: 1990, 'A Crustal Spreading/Mantle Plume Model for the Tectonics of Venus: Predictions and Tests for the Magellan Mission', (submitted to Nature).Google Scholar
  29. Head, J. W. and Gifford, A.: 1979, 'Lunar Mare Domes: Classification and Modes of Origin', Earth, Moon and Planets 22, 235–258.Google Scholar
  30. Head, J. W. and Wilson, L.: 1986, 'Volcanic Processes and Landforms on Venus: Theory, Predictions, and Observations', J. Geophys. Res. 91, 9407–46.Google Scholar
  31. Head, J. W., Peterfreund, A. R., Garvin, J. B., and Zisk, S. H.: 1985, 'Surface Characteristics of Venus derived from Pioneer Venus Altimetry, Roughness, and Reflectivity Measurements', J. Geophys. Res. 90, 6873–85.Google Scholar
  32. Head, J. W., Vorder Bruegge, R. W., and Crumpler, L. S.: 1989, 'Architecture of Orogenic Belts and Convergent Zones in Western Ishtar Terra', (abstract), Lunar Planet. Sci. XX, 396–7.Google Scholar
  33. Hess, P. C. and Head, J. W.: 1989, 'Derivation of Primary Magmas and Melting of Crustal Materials on Venus: Some Preliminary Considerations', (abstract), Internat. Geol. Con. 28, 55.Google Scholar
  34. Holcomb, R. T.: 1987, Eruptive History and Long-Term Behavior of Kilauea Volcano', in R. W. Decker, T. L. Wright, and P. H. Stauffer, (eds.), Volcanism in Hawaii, vol. 1, U.S.G.S. prof. paper 1350, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., pp. 261–350.Google Scholar
  35. Ivanov, B. A., Basilevsky, A. T., Kryuchkov, V. P., Chernaya, I. M.: 1986, 'Impact Craters of Venus: Analysis of Venera 15 and 16 data', J. Geophys. Res. 91, D413–430.Google Scholar
  36. Janle, P., Jannsen, D., and Basilevsky, A. T.: 1987, 'Morphologic and Gravimetric Investigations of Bell and Eisila Regiones on Venus', Earth, Moon, and Planets 39, 251–273.Google Scholar
  37. Kryuchkov, V. P., and Basilevsky, A. T.: 1989, 'Radar-Bright Flow-Like Features as Possible Traces of the Latest Volcanic Activity on Venus', (abstract), Lunar Planet. Sci. XX, 548–9.Google Scholar
  38. Magee, K. P. and Head, J. W.: 1988a, 'Colette and Sacajawea: Characterization, Comparison, and Interpretation of Major Caldera Structures on Lakshmi Planum', (abstract), Lunar Planet, Sci. XIX. 711–12.Google Scholar
  39. Magee, K. P. and Head, J. W.: 1988b, 'Lakshmi Planum: A Distinctive Highland Volcanic Province', (abstract), Lunar Planet. Sci. XIX, 713–14.Google Scholar
  40. Masursky, H., Eliason, E., Ford, P. G., McGill, G. E., Pettengill, G. H., Schaber, G. G., and Schubert, G.: 1980, 'Pioneer Venus Radar Results: Geology from Images and Altimetry', J. Geophys. Res. 85, 8232–60.Google Scholar
  41. McGetchin, T. R., Burke, K. C., Thompson, G. A., and Young, R. A.: 1980. 'Mode and Mechanism of Plateau Uplifts', in A. W. Bally, P. L. Bender, T. R. McGetchin, and R. I. Walcott (eds.), Dynamics of Plate Interiors, Geodyn. Ser. v. 1, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., and Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, pp. 99–110.Google Scholar
  42. McGill, G. E., Warner, J. L., Malin, M. C., Arvidson, R. E., Eliason, E., Nozette, S., Reasenberg, R. D.: 1983, 'Topography, Surface Properties and Tectonic Evolution', in D. M. Hunten, L. Colin, and T. M. Donahue (eds.), Venus, Univ. Arizona Press, Tucson, pp. 69–130.Google Scholar
  43. Morgan, P. and Phillips, R. J.: 1983, 'Hot Spot Heat Transfer: Its Application to Venus and Implications to Venus and Earth'. J. Geophys. Res., 88, 8305–8317.Google Scholar
  44. Morgan, P. and Swanberg, C. A.: 1985, 'On the Cenozoic Uplift and Tectonic Stability of the Colorado Plateau', J. Geodynamics, 3, 39–63.Google Scholar
  45. Mouginis-Mark, P. J.: 1981, 'Late Stage Summit Activity of Martian Shield Volcanoes'. Proc. Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf., 12th, paper 2102, pp. 1–17.Google Scholar
  46. Mouginis-Mark, P. J., Wilson, L., and Zimbelman, J. R.: 1988, 'Polygenic Eruptions on Alba Patera, Mars', Bull. Volcan. 50, 361–379.Google Scholar
  47. Pettengill, G. H., Eliason, E., Ford, P. G., Loriot, G. B., Masursky, H., and McGill, G. E.: 1980, 'Pioneer Venus Radar Results: Altimetry and Surface Properties'. J. Geophys. Res. 85, 8261–8270.Google Scholar
  48. Phillips, R. J. and Malin, M. C.: 1983, 'The Interior of Venus and Tectonic Implications', in D. M. Hunten, L. Colin, and T. M. Donahue (eds.), Venus, Univ. Arizona Press, Tucson, pp. 150–214.Google Scholar
  49. Phillips, R. J., Kaula, W. M., McGill, G. E., and Malin, M. C.: 1981. 'Tectonics and Evolution of Venus', Science 212, 879–87.Google Scholar
  50. Pike, R. J.: 1978, 'Volcanoes on the Inner Planets: Some Preliminary Comparisons of Gross Topography', Proc. Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf., 9th, pp. 3239–3273.Google Scholar
  51. Plaut, J. J. and Arvidson, R. E.: 1988, 'Comment on “Impact Carters of Venus: a Continuation of the Analysis of Data from the Venera 15 and 16 Spacecraft” by A. T. Basilevsky et al.', J. Geophys. Res. 93, 15339–15340.Google Scholar
  52. Pronin, A. A.: 1986, 'The Lakshmi Plateau Structure as an Indicator of Asthenosphere Horizontal Flows on Venus', Geotectonics 20, 271–286.Google Scholar
  53. Pronin, A. A., Sukhanov, A. L., Tyuflin, Yu. S., Kadnichansky, S. A., Kotelnikov, V. A., Rizhiga, O. N., Petrov, G. M., Sidorenko, A. I., Alexandrov, Yu. N., Krivstov, A. P., Sinilo, V. P., Burba, G. A., Bobina, N. N.: 1986, ''Geological-Morphological Description of Lakshmi Planum' (Photomap of the Venusian Surface, sheet B-4)', Solar System Res. 20, 53–63.Google Scholar
  54. Roberts, K. M. and Head, J. W.: 1990, 'Lakshmi Planum Volcanism: Basal Melting of Thickened Crust?', (abstract), Lunar Planet. Sci. XXI, 1019–1020.Google Scholar
  55. Ronca, L. B. and Basilevsky, A. T.: 1986, 'Maxwell Montes and Thessera Fortuna: A Study of Venera 15 and 16 Radar Images', Earth, Moon, and Planets, 36,23–39.Google Scholar
  56. Rzhiga, O. N.: 1987, 'Venera-15 and -16 spacecraft: Images and Maps of Venus'. Adv. Space Res. 7. 12269–12278.Google Scholar
  57. Schaber, G. G.: 1982, 'Syrtis Major: A Low-Relief Volcanic Shield'. J. Geophys. Res. 87, 9852–9866.Google Scholar
  58. Schaber, G. G. and Kozak, R. C.: 1989, 'Morphologies of Ten Venusian Shields between Lat. 30 ° and 90 ° N (abstract). Lunar Planet. Sci. XX, 954–955.Google Scholar
  59. Schaber, G. G., Shoemaker, E. M., Kozak, R. C.: 1987. 'Is the Venusian Surface Really Old?', (abstract), Lunar Planet. Sci. XVIII, 874–5.Google Scholar
  60. Senske, D. A.: 1989, 'Geology of the Equatorial Region of Venus: A Comparison of Volcanic and Tectonic Styles between the Equatorial Region and Northern High Latitudes', M.Sc. Thesis, Brown University.Google Scholar
  61. Senske, D. A. and Head, J. W.: 1989, 'Venus Equatorial Geologic Units, (abstract), Lunar Planet. Sci. XX, 986–987.Google Scholar
  62. Sjogren, W. L., Bills, B. G., and Mottinger, N. A.: 1984, 'Venus: Ishtar Gravity Anomaly', Geophys. Res. Lett. 11, 489–491.Google Scholar
  63. Smith, D. K., and Jordan, T. H.: 1987, 'The Size Distribution of Pacific Seamounts', Geophys. Res. Lett. 14, 1119–1122.Google Scholar
  64. Solomon, S. C. and Head, J. W.: 1982, 'Mechanisms for Lithospheric Heat Transport on Venus: Implications for Tectonic Style and Volcanism', J. Geophys. Res., 87, 9236–46.Google Scholar
  65. Solomon, S. C. and Head, J. W.: 1984, 'Venus Banded Terrain: Tectonic Models for Band Formation and Their Relationship to Lithospheric Thermal Structure', J. Geophys. Res., 89, 6885–97.Google Scholar
  66. Sotin, C., Senske, D. A., Head, J. W. and Parmentier, E. M.: 1989, 'Terrestrial Spreading Centers under Venus Conditions: Evaluation of a Crustal Spreading Model for Western Aphrodite Terra', Earth and Planet. Sci. Lett. 95, 321–333.Google Scholar
  67. Stofan, E. R.: 1985, 'Circular Mountainous Structures on Venus: Evidence for Endogenic Origin', M.Sc. thesis, Brown University.Google Scholar
  68. Stofan, E. R., Head, J. W., and Campbell, D. B.: 1987, 'Geology of the Southern Ishtar Terra/Guinevere and Sedna Planitiae Region on Venus', Earth, Moon, and Planets 38, 183–207.Google Scholar
  69. Stofan, E. R., Head, J. W., Campbell, D. B., Zisk, S. H., Bogomolov, A. F., Rzhiga, O. N., Basilevsky, A. T., and Armand, N.: 1989, 'Geology of a Rift Zone on Venus: Beta Regio and Devana Chasma', Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull. 101, 143–156.Google Scholar
  70. Sukhanov, A. L.: 1986, 'Parquet: Regions of Areal Plastic Deformation, (in Russian) Geotektonika 4, 60–79.Google Scholar
  71. Vorder Bruegge, R. W. and Head, J. W.: 1989, 'Fortuna Tessera, Venus: Evidence of Horizontal Convergence and Crustal Thickening', Geophys. Res. Letters. 16, 699–702.Google Scholar
  72. Vorder Bruegge, R. W., Head, J. W. and Campbell, D. B.: 1989, 'Orogeny and Large-Scale Strike-Slip Faulting on Venus: Tectonic Evolution of Maxwell Montes', J. Geophys. Res. 95, 8357–8381.Google Scholar
  73. Walker, G. P. L.: 1988, 'Three Hawaiian Calderas: An Origin Through Loading by Shallow Intrusions?', J. Geophys. Res. 93, 14,773–14,784.Google Scholar
  74. Wood, C. A.: 1984, 'Calderas: a Planetary Perspective', J. Geophys. Res. 89, 8391–8406.Google Scholar
  75. Wu, S. S. C., Garcia, P. A., Jordan, R., and Schafer, F. J.: 1982, 'Quantitative Analysis of Olympus Mons', (abstract), Report of Planetary Geology Program, 1981; NASA TM-84211, 141–143.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kari M. Roberts
    • 1
  • James W. Head
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesBrown UniversityProvidenceU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations