The consensus regarding interpretation of Magellan radar imagery assigns Venus a young volcanic surface subjected in many areas to moderate crustal shortening. I infer that, on the contrary, ancient densely cratered terrain and large impact basins may be preserved over more than half the planet and that crustal shortening has been much overestimated. I see wind erosion and deposition as far more effective in modifying old structures. Integration with lunar chronology suggests that most of the surface of Venus may be older than 3.0 Ga and much may be older than 3.8 Ga. Broad volcanos, hug volcanic domes, plains preserving lobate flow patterns, and numerous lesser volcanic features, pocked sparsely by impact craters, are indeed obvious on Magellan imagery. Some of these postvolcanic impact craters have been slightly extended, but only a small portion has been flooded by still younger lavas. Relative ages of the young craters are indicated by the varying eolian removal of their forms and ejecta blankets and flow lobes, and the oldest are much subdued. If these young impact craters, maximum diameter 275 km, include all preserved impact structures, then their quantity and distribution indicate that Venus was largely resurfaced by volcanism approx. 0.5 Ga, subsequent eruptions having been at a much reduced rate. Away from the approx. 0.5 Ga volcanic features, much of Venus is, however, dominated by circular and subcircular features, 50-2000 km in diameter, many of them multiring, that may be mostly older impact and impact-melt structures substantially modified by wind action. Eolian erosion scoured to bedrock old ridges and uplands, including those that may be cratered terrains and the rims and outer-ring depressions of large impact basins, and removed all surficial deposits to the limits of resolution of the imagery. The complementary eolian deposits form not only dunes, wind streaks, and small plains, but also broad radar-dark plains, commonly assumed to be volcanic although lacking flow morphology, whose materials appear to be thick because they are smoothly compacted into buried craters.
LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Lunar and Planetary Inst., International Conference on Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution; p 33-35