The Highlands of Venus

The mapping of Venus has shown two large elevated areas which have been named Ishtar Terra and Aphrodite Terra (If Venus is the Roman goddess of love, then Ishtar and Aphrodite are the Babylonian and Greek counterparts.). Although there is no ocean, these highlands are continent-sized elevated masses. These "continents" make up only 8% of the planet's surface compared to 25% for Earth's planets. The remainder of the surface is relatively smooth with little geological differentiation, but is classified as lowlands (25%) and rolling plains(65%). Continents on the Earth are associated with the boundaries of tectonic plates, there appears to be no large scale plate tectonics on Venus.

Ishtar Terra is in the southern high latitudes and is about the size of Australia. Prominent on Ishtar Terra is a great plateau called Lakshmi Planum which is about 1500 km across at its widest point. There are mountain ranges surrounding this plateau which contain Maxwell's Mont, the highest mountain peak on the planet. The peak of Maxwell's Mont is some 14 km higher than the lowest point on the planet, compared to about 20 km between the peak of Mt. Everest and the deepest point in Earth's oceans, Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench on the eastern edge of the Phillipines plate.

Aphrodite Terra is on the planet's equator and is comparable in size to Africa.

Topological map

Venus Concepts

Solar System Concepts

Solar System Exploration

Chaisson & McMillan,
Ch 9.
HyperPhysics********** Astrophysics R Nave
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