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Aeolian Processes and Features on VenusAeolian features on Venus include dune fields, eroded hills (yardangs), wind streaks, (miniature dunes of 10 to 30 cm wavelength). Although and possibly microdunes (in repetitive imaging by Magellan did show changes in the appearance of the surface, these changes are attributed to radar artifacts as a consequence of look direction rather than to physical changes of the surface. Nonetheless, measurements of wind speeds near the surface of Venus and wind tunnel simulations suggest that aeolian processes could be currently active on Venus. Study of radar images of terrestrial analogs shows that radar wavelength, polarization, and viewing geometry, including look direction and incidence angle, all influence the detection of dunes, yardangs, and wind streaks. For best detection, dune crests and yardangs should be oriented perpendicular to look direction. Longer wavelength systems can penetrate sand sheets a meter or more thick, rendering them invisible, especially in arid regions. For wind streaks to be visible, there must be a contrast in surface properties between the streak and the background on which it occurs. Nonetheless, more than 6000 aeolian features have been found on Magellan images of Venus, the most common of which are various wind streaks. Mapping wind streak orientations enables near-surface wind patterns to be inferred for the time of their formation. Type P streaks are associated with parabolic ejecta crater deposits and are considered to have formed in association with the impact event. Most Type P streaks are oriented westward, indicative of the upper altitude superrotation winds of Venus. Non Type P streaks have occurrences and orientations consistent with Hadley circulation. Some streaks in the southern hemisphere are oriented to the northeast, suggesting a Coriolis effect.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Greeley, Ronald
(Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ United States)
Bender, Kelly C.
(Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ United States)
Saunders, Stephen
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Schubert, Gerald
(California Univ. Los Angeles, CA United States)
Weitz, Catherine M.
(Brown Univ. United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1997
Publication Information
Publication: VENUS 2: Geology, Geophysics, Atmosphere, and Solar Wind Environment
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
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