Igneous Rock Associations 28. Construction of a Venusian Greenstone Belt: A Petrological Perspective

J. Gregory Shellnutt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The crustal evolution of Venus appears to be principally driven by intraplate processes that may be related to mantle upwelling as there is no physiographic (i.e. mid-ocean ridge, volcanic arc) evidence of Earth-like plate tectonics. Rocks with basaltic composition were identified at the Venera 9, 10, 13, and 14, and Vega 1 and 2 landing sites whereas the rock encountered at the Venera 8 landing site may be silicic. The Venera 14 rock is chemically indistinguishable from terrestrial olivine tholeiite but bears a strong resemblance to basalt from terrestrial Archean greenstone belts. Forward petrological modeling (i.e. fractional crystallization and partial melting) and primary melt composition calculations using the rock compo- sitions of Venus can yield results indistinguishable from many volcanic (ultramafic, intermediate, silicic) and plutonic (tonalite, trondhjemite, granodiorite, anorthosite) rocks that typify Archean greenstone belts. Evidence of chemically pre-cipitated (carbonate, evaporite, chert, banded-iron formation) and clastic (sandstone, shale) sedimentary rocks is scarce to absent, but their existence is dependent upon an ancient Venusian hydrosphere. Nevertheless, it appears that the volcanic– volcaniclastic–plutonic portion of terrestrial greenstone belts can be constructed from the known surface compositions of Venusian rocks and suggests that it is possible that Venus and Early Earth had parallel evolutionary tracks in the growth of proto-continental crust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-116
Number of pages20
JournalGeoscience Canada
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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