Radar characteristics of small craters: Implications for Venus

Ronald Greeley, Philip Christensen, John F. McHone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Shuttle radar images (SIR-A) of volcanic and impact craters were examined to assess their appearance on radar images. Radar characteristics were determined for: (a) 9 maarlike craters in the Pinacate volcanic field, Sonora, Mexico; (b) the caldera of Cerro Volcan Quemado, in the Bolivian Andes; (c) Talemzane impact crater, Algeria; and (d) Al Umchaimin, a possible impact structure in Iraq. SIR-A images were compared with conventional photographs and with results from field studies. Consideration was then given to radar images available for Venus, or anticipated from the Magellan mission. Of the criteria ordinarily used to identify impact craters, some can be assessed with radar images and others cannot be used; planimetric form - expressed as circularity - and ejecta-block distribution can be assessed on radar images, but rim and floor elevations relative to the surrounding plain and disposition of rim strata are difficult or impossible to determine. We conclude that it will be difficult to separate small impact craters from small volcanic craters on Venus using radar images, and suggest that it will be necessary to understand the geological setting of the areas containing in order to determine their origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-111
Number of pages23
JournalEarth, Moon and Planets
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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