Coronae formation on Venus via extension and lithospheric instability

Danielle Piskorz, Linda Elkins-Tanton, Suzanne E. Smrekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Over 500 quasi-circular volcano-tectonic features called coronae occur on Venus. They are believed to form via small-scale mantle upwellings, lithospheric instability, or a combination thereof. Coronae and rifts commonly occur together, including many coronae that lie outside of the fracture zone. However, the genetic link between the two has remained unclear. This paper proposes a mechanism for the formation of off-rift coronae due to the rifting process. We model the interaction of a rising mantle plume associated with a rift with a hypothetical preexisting layer of dense material in the lithosphere. We show that a rift and its associated off-rift coronae could be genetically linked by the process of development of secondary ringlike dripping instabilities initiating at the plume margins. We calculate the resulting surface topographies, melt volumes, and Bouguer gravity anomalies and compare them to observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2568-2582
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2014


  • Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities
  • Venus
  • coronae
  • rifts
  • volcanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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