Altitude-dependent, high radar-reflectivity surfaces on Venus are observed on most mountainous volcanic terranes above a planetary radius of about 6054 km. However, high radar-reflectivity areas also occur at lower altitudes in some impact craters and plain terranes. Pyrite (FeS2) is commonly believed to be responsible for the high radar reflectivities at high elevations on Venus, on account of large dielectric constants measured for sulfide-bearing rocks that were erroneously attributed to pyrite instead of pyrrhotite. Pentlandite-pyrrhotite assemblages may be responsible for high reflectivities associated with impact craters on the Venusian surface, by analogy with Fe-Ni sulfide deposits occurring in terrestrial astroblemes. Mixed-valence Fe(2+)-Fe(3+) silicates, including oxyhornblende, oxybiotite, and ilvaite, may contribute to high radar reflecting surfaces on mountain-tops of Venus.
LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F; p 233-234