Dynamics and Evolution of Venus’ Mantle Through Time

Tobias Rolf, Matt Weller, Anna Gülcher, Paul Byrne, Joseph G. O’Rourke, Robert Herrick, Evan Bjonnes, Anne Davaille, Richard Ghail, Cedric Gillmann, Ana Catalina Plesa, Suzanne Smrekar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The dynamics and evolution of Venus’ mantle are of first-order relevance for the origin and modification of the tectonic and volcanic structures we observe on Venus today. Solid-state convection in the mantle induces stresses into the lithosphere and crust that drive deformation leading to tectonic signatures. Thermal coupling of the mantle with the atmosphere and the core leads to a distinct structure with substantial lateral heterogeneity, thermally and compositionally. These processes ultimately shape Venus’ tectonic regime and provide the framework to interpret surface observations made on Venus, such as gravity and topography. Tectonic and convective processes are continuously changing through geological time, largely driven by the long-term thermal and compositional evolution of Venus’ mantle. To date, no consensus has been reached on the geodynamic regime Venus’ mantle is presently in, mostly because observational data remains fragmentary. In contrast to Earth, Venus’ mantle does not support the existence of continuous plate tectonics on its surface. However, the planet’s surface signature substantially deviates from those of tectonically largely inactive bodies, such as Mars, Mercury, or the Moon. This work reviews the current state of knowledge of Venus’ mantle dynamics and evolution through time, focussing on a dynamic system perspective. Available observations to constrain the deep interior are evaluated and their insufficiency to pin down Venus’ evolutionary path is emphasised. Future missions will likely revive the discussion of these open issues and boost our current understanding by filling current data gaps; some promising avenues are discussed in this chapter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number70
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Interior evolution
  • Mantle dynamics
  • Surface tectonics
  • Thermal history
  • Venus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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