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- Among the four mountain belts surrounding Lakshmi Planum, Maxwell Montes is the highest and stands up to 11 km above the mean planetary radius and 7 km above Lakshmi Planum. The bulk composition and radioactive heat production of the crust on Venus, where measured, are similar to those of terrestrial tholeiitic basalt. Because the thickness of the low-density crust may be limited by the gabbro-garnet granulite-eclogite phase transitions, the 7-11 km maximum elevation of Maxwell Montes is difficult to understand except in the unlikely situation that the crust contains a large volume of magma. A possible explanation is that the base of the crust is not in phase equilibrium. It has been suggested that under completely dry conditions, the gabbro-eclogite phase transition takes place by solid-state diffusion and may require a geologically significant time to run to completion. Solid-state diffusion is a strongly temperature-dependent process. In this paper we solve the thermal evolution of the mountain belt to attempt to constrain the depth of the gabbro-eclogite transition and thus to assess this hypothesis quantitatively. The one-dimensional heat equation is solved numerically by a finite difference approximation. The deformation of the horizontally shortening crustal and mantle portions of the thermal boundary layer is assumed to occur by pure shear, and therefore the vertical velocity is given by the product of the horizontal strain rate and depth.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19930005162.
Accession ID: 93N14350.
Lunar and Planetary Inst., Papers Presented to the International Colloquium on Venus; p 74-76.
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