Corona structures driven by plume-lithosphere interactions and evidence for ongoing plume activity on Venus

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Anna Gülcher , Laurent Montési, Taras Gerya, Jessica Munch


In the absence of global plate tectonics, mantle convection and plume-lithosphere interaction are the main drivers of surface deformation on Venus. Among documented tectonic structures, circular volcano-tectonic features known as coronae may be the clearest surface manifestations of mantle plumes and hold clues to the global Venusian tectonic regime. Yet, the exact processes underlying coronae formation and the reasons for their diverse morphologies remain controversial. Here, we use 3D thermomechanical numerical simulations of impingement of a thermal mantle plume upon the Venusian lithosphere to assess the origin and diversity of large Venusian coronae. The ability of the mantle plume to penetrate into the Venusian lithosphere results in four main outcomes: lithospheric dripping, short-lived subduction, embedded plume and plume underplating. During the first three scenarios, plume penetration and spreading induce crustal thickness variations that eventually lead to a final topographic isostasy-driven topographic inversion from circular trenches surrounding elevated interiors to raised rims surrounding inner depressions, as observed on many Venusian coronae. Different corona structures may represent not only different styles of plume-lithosphere interactions, but also different stages in evolution. A morphological analysis of large existing coronae leads to the conclusion that least 37 large coronae (including the largest Artemis corona) are active, providing evidence for widespread ongoing plume activity on Venus.



Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Planetary Sciences


Venus, coronae, numerical modelling, volcanism, Tectonics, Mantle plume, lithosphere


Published: 2021-12-04 05:42

Last Updated: 2021-12-04 13:42


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International