Detectability of Remanent Magnetism in the Crust of Venus

J. G. O'Rourke, J. Buz, R. R. Fu, R. J. Lillis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Observations of planetary magnetic fields provide fundamental insights into the origin and evolution of terrestrial planets. However, whether Venus ever hosted a dynamo is unknown. Here we show that crustal remanent magnetism is a potentially observable consequence of an ancient Venusian dynamo, in contrast to previous studies that dismissed this possibility. Past spacecraft measurements only exclude crustal magnetization near the Venera 4 landing site and northward of 50° South latitude for >150-km coherence scales and strong magnetization intensities. Magnetite grains with sizes commonly observed in volcanic rocks can retain thermoremanent magnetism at Venusian conditions for >1 billion years. Depths to the Curie temperature of magnetite are ~5–40 km and typically less than predicted crustal thicknesses at our analyzed localities. Aerial platforms could detect expected magnetizations at horizontal scales similar to the ~50-km operating altitude. Any detection would validate models of planetary accretion, geologic processes, and climate history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5768-5777
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 16 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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