Two of the most important constraints are known from Pioneer Venus data: the lack of a system of spreading rises, indicating distributed deformation rather than plate tectonics; and the high gravity/topography ratio, indicating the absence of an asthenosphere. In addition, the high depth/diameter ratios of craters on Venus indicate that Venus probably has no more crust than Earth. The problems of the character of tectonics and crustal formation and recycling are closely coupled. Venus appears to lack a recycling mechanism as effective as subduction, but may also have a low rate of crustal differentiation because of a mantle convection pattern that is more distributed, less concentrated, than Earth's. Distributed convection, coupled with the nonlinear dependence of volcanism on heat flow, would lead to much less magmatism, despite only moderately less heat flow, compared to Earth. The plausible reason for this difference in convective style is the absence of water in the upper mantle of Venus. We have applied finite element modeling to problems of the interaction of mantle convection and crust on Venus. The main emphasis has been on the tectonic evolution of Ishtar Terra, as the consequence of convergent mantle flow. The early stage evolution is primarily mechanical, with crust being piled up on the down-stream side. Then the downflow migrates away from the center. In the later stages, after more than 100 m.y., thermal effects develop due to the insulating influence of the thickened crust. An important feature of this modeling is the entrainment of some crustal material in downflows. An important general theme in both convergent and divergent flows is that of mixing vs. stratification. Models of multicomponent solid-state flow obtain that lower-density crustal material can be entrained and recycled, provided that the ration of low-density to high-density material is small enough (as in subducted slabs on Earth). The same considerations should apply in upflows; a small percent of partial melt may be carried along with its matrix and never escape to the surface. Models that assume melt automatically rising to the crust and no entrainment or other mechanism of recycling lower-density material obtain oscillatory behavior, because it takes a long time for heat to build up enough to overcome a Mg-rich low-density residuum. However, these models develop much thicker crust than consistent with estimates from crater depth/diameter ratios.
LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Lunar and Planetary Inst., Papers Presented to the International Colloquium on Venus; p 55-56