Hot-Spot Evolution and the Global Tectonics of Venus

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Science  03 May 1991:
Vol. 252, Issue 5006, pp. 651-658
DOI: 10.1126/science.252.5006.651


The global tectonics of Venus may be dominated by plumes rising from the mantle and impinging on the lithosphere, giving rise to hot spots. Global sea-floor spreading does not take place, but direct convective coupling of mantle flow fields to the lithosphere leads to regional-scale deformation and may allow lithospheric transport on a limited scale. A hot-spot evolutionary sequence comprises (i) a broad domal uplift resulting from a rising mantle plume, (ii) massive partial melting in the plume head and generation of a thickened crust or crustal plateau, (iii) collapse of dynamic topography, and (iv) creep spreading of the crustal plateau. Crust on Venus is produced by gradual vertical differentiation with little recycling rather than by the rapid horizontal creation and consumption characteristic of terrestrial sea-floor spreading.

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