Dyke widths and ascent rates of silicic magmas on Venus

Nick Petford

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


The ascent of silicic magmas in dykes and diapirs on Venus is investigated using magma transport models for granitic melts on Earth. For fixed planetary thermal and melt properties, differences in critical minimum dyke widths, and hence magma ascent rates, are controlled by gravitational strength alone. For density contrasts of 200-600kg/m(3) and a solidus temperature of 1023 K, minimum critical dyke widths (av,) on Venus range from c. <1-1200 m for a transport distance of 20 km. Dyke widths are especially sensitive to small changes in the far-field lithospheric temperature at values close to a critical Stefan number (S-infinity crit) of 0.83 where dyke magma temperatures are equal to the mean surface temperature. Typical magma ascent rates range from 0.02m/s (eta (m) = 10(5) Pa s) to 10(-9) m/s (eta (m) = 10(17) Pa s) giving transport times of between 12 days and c. 105 years. Dyke ascent velocities for highly viscous melts are compared with diapiric rise of a hot Stokes body of radius comparable with the pancake dome average (c. 12 km), and require dyke widths of the order of 100 times the average width of low viscosity flows to prevent freezing. In both cases, magma flow is characterised by Peclet numbers between 1 and 4, although even at high viscosities (> 10(14)Pa s), dyke ascent is still 100 to 1000 times faster than diapiric rise. At a melt viscosity of 10(17)Pa s, critical dyke widths are between c. 1% and 5% the diameter of an average width pancake dome on Venus, indicating that even for extreme melt viscosities, domes can easily be fed by dykes. Given the abundance of dome structures and associated surface features related to hyperbasal magmatism, batholithic volumes of silicic rocks may be present on Venus. Intermediate to high silica melts formed by partial melting of the Venusian crust should be compositionally more akin to Na-rich terrestrial adakites and trondhjemites than calc-alkaline dacites or rhyolites.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpecial Paper 350: The Fourth Hutton Symposium on the Origin of Granites and Related Rocks
PublisherGeological Society of America
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2007

Publication series

NameSpecial Paper 350: The Fourth Hutton Symposium on the Origin of Granites and Related Rocks


Dive into the research topics of 'Dyke widths and ascent rates of silicic magmas on Venus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this