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U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Investigations Series I–2684

Prepared for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Geologic Map of the Lavinia Planitia Quadrangle (V–55), Venus

By Mikhail A. Ivanov and James W. Head, III



The Lavinia Planitia quadrangle (V–55) is in the southern hemisphere of Venus and extends from 25° to 50° south latitude and from 330° to 360° longitude. It covers the central and northern part of Lavinia Planitia and parts of its margins. Lavinia Planitia consists of a centralized, deformed lowland flooded by volcanic deposits and surrounded by Dione Regio to the west (Keddie and Head, 1995), Alpha Regio tessera (Bindschadler and others, 1992a) and Eve Corona (Stofan and others, 1992) to the northeast, itself an extensive rift zone and coronae belt to the east and south (Baer and others, 1994; Magee and Head, 1995), Mylitta Fluctus to the south (Magee Roberts and others, 1992), and Helen Planitia to the southwest (Senske and others, 1991). In contrast to other areas on Venus, the Lavinia Planitia area is one of several large, relatively equidimensional lowlands (basins) and as such is an important region for the analysis of processes of basin formation and volcanic flooding.

Before the Magellan mission, Lavinia Planitia was known on the basis of Pioneer–Venus altimetry to be a lowland area (Pettengill and others, 1980);. Arecibo radar images showed that Lavinia Plaitia was surrounded by several corona-like features and rift-like fractures parallel to the basin margin to the east and south (Senske and others, 1991; Campbell and others, 1990). Arecibo data further revealed that the interior contained complex patterns of deformational features in the form of belts and volcanic plains, and several regions along the margins were seen to be the sources of extensive outpourings of digitate lava flows into the interior (Senske and others, 1991; Campbell and others, 1990). Early Magellan results showed that the ridge belts are composed of complex structures of both extensional and contractional origin (Squyres and others, 1992; Solomon and others, 1992) and that the complex lava flows (fluctus) along the margins (Magee Roberts and others, 1992) emanated from a variety of sources ranging from volcanoes to coronae (Magee and Head, 1995; Keddie and Head, 1995). In addition, global analysis of the distribution of volcanic features revealed that Lavinia Planitia is an area deficient in the distribution of distinctive volcanic sources and corona-like features (Head and others, 1992; Crumpler and others, 1993).

Lavinia Planitia gravity and geoid data show that the lowland is characterized by a –30 mGal gravity anomaly and a –10 m geoid anomaly, centered on eastern Lavinia (Bindschadler and others, 1992b; Konopliv and Sjogren, 1994). Indeed, the characteristics and configuration of Lavinia Planitia have been cited as evidence for the region being the site of large-scale mantle down welling (Bindschadler and others, 1992b). Thus, this region is a laboratory for the study of the formation of lowlands, the emplacement of volcanic plains, the formation of associated tectonic features, and their relation to mantle processes. These questions and issues are the basis for our geologic mapping analysis.

In our analysis we have focused on the geologic mapping of the Lavinia Planitia quadrangle using traditional methods of geologic unit definition and characterization for the Earth (for example, American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature, 1961) and planets (for example, Wilhelms, 1990) appropriately modified for radar data (Tanaka, 1994). We defined units and mapped key relations using the full resolution Magellan synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data (mosaiced full resolution basic image data records, C1–MIDR’s, F-MIDR’s, and F-Maps) and transferred these results to the base map compiled at a scale of 1:5 million. In addition to the SAR image data, we incorporated into our analyses digital versions of Magellan altimetry, emissivity, Fresnel reflectivity, and roughness data (root mean square, rms, slope). The background for our unit definition and characterization is described in Tanaka (1994), Basilevsky and Head (1995a, b), and Basilevsky and others (1996).

thumbnail view of map

Last modified March 21, 2012
First posted January 28, 2004

For additional information:
Contact Astrogeology Research Program staff
Astrogeology Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
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Flagstaff, AZ 86001

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Suggested citation:

Ivanov, M.A., and Head, J.W., III, 2001, Geologic map of the Lavinia Planitia quadrangle (V–55), Venus: U.S. Geological Survey Geologic Investigations Series I–2684, available at

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