A Dynamic Model of Venus's Gravity Field

Walter S. Kiefer, Mark A. Richards, Bradford H. Hager (Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, Caltech)
Bruce G. Bills (Lunar and Planetary Institute)

Geophysical Research Letters, 13, 14-17, 1986.

Abstract: Unlike on Earth, long-wavelength gravity anomalies and topography correlate well on Venus. Venus's admittance curve from spherical harmonic degree 2 to 18 is inconsistent with either Airy or Pratt isostasy but is consistent with dynamic support from mantle convection. A model using whole mantle flow and a high viscosity near-surface layer overlying a constant viscosity mantle reproduces this admittance curve. On Earth, the effective viscosity deduced from geoid modeling increases by a factor of 300 from the asthenosphere to the lower mantle. These viscosity estimates may be biased by neglect of lateral variations in mantle viscosity. The different effective viscosity profiles for Earth and Venus may reflect their convective styles, with tectonism and mantle heat transport dominated by hot plumes on Venus and by subducted slabs on Earth.

Text of article (on AGU website)

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Walter S. Kiefer,   kiefer@lpi.usra.edu