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Giant radiating dyke swarms on Earth and VenusOn Earth, giant radiating dyke swarms are usually preserved as fan-shaped fragments which have been dismembered from their original configuration by subsequent plate tectonic rifting events. Analysis of the largest fragments and consideration of their original configuration has led to the idea that many swarms are plume related, and that dyke swarms radiate away from plume centers. Magellan radar data reveal abundant intact giant radiating swarms on Venus which are similar in scale and pattern to those on Earth. The absence of intense weathering and plate tectonic processes on Venus accounts for the preservation of the primary radiating patterns. It is characteristic of both Earth and Venus that giant radiating dikes are emplaced laterally for distances of at least 2000 km away from plume centers. At distances beyond the influence of the plume on both Earth and Venus, the radiating dyke pattern is often swept into a linear pattern aligned with the regional stress field. There is tremendous potential synergism between the characterization and analysis of terrestrial dyke swarms (where significant erosion has revealed their structure and emplacement directions at depth) and the giant swarms of Venus (where the complete circumferential structure is preserved, and the surface fracture systems above near surface dikes and the nature of the central source regions are revealed). In this study, we report on the characteristics of radial dyke swarms on Earth and Venus and draw some preliminary comparisons from the two perspectives. In summary, on both planets there is evidence for plume-related magmatic centers associated with vertical and lateral injection of magma over considerable distances (up to at least 2000 km). The abundance of very broadly radiating swarms on Venus supports the notion that the swarms on Earth were radiating over broad sectors at the time of intrusion but were dissected by later events. The Venus data show that a swarm can change from radiating (proximal) to regional (distal) subparallel orientations. An implication for Earth is that many regional linear swarms which do not have a radiating pattern may be due to fragmentation of the swarm during later plate tectonic rifting. Completion of the global classification and census of Venus features, comparison to the terrestrial synthesis, and documentation of the mode of emplacement of dikes in these environments (buffered and unbuffered conditions) should lead to additional general insight into mechanisms of formation and evolution and their relation to plumes.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Ernst, Richard E.
(Ottawa Univ. Ontario Canada)
Head, James W.
(Brown Univ. Providence, RI., United States)
Parfitt, Elisabeth
(Brown Univ. Providence, RI., United States)
Wilson, Lionel
(Brown Univ. Providence, RI., United States)
Grosfils, Eric
(Brown Univ. Providence, RI., United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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