Continents and Oceans of Venus
Few days ago, we learned about continents and oceans of Mercury. There were 1 continent and 3 oceans. It’s time to move on to the next planet, Venus!!! Today, let’s talk about continents and oceans of Venus.
-Continents of Venus
There are three main continental landmass. They are Aphrodite Terra, Ishtar Terra, and Lada Terra. But we can’t say all of them are continents, because if we look at the standard for the continent. Continent is a landmass that is bigger than Greenland. So… by that definition, we can see that one, Lada Terra which is only 8615 km squared or about the size of Abkhazia can’t be a continent since it is smaller than Greenland (2166000 km squared). However, because the other two are larger than Greenland, they can be considered as continents.
>Area: 15,000,000 km squared (8th in Solar System/1st in Venus) ≈ South America
>Location: Equatorial and low-latitude region of Venus
>Highest Point: Sapas Mons > 4500 m (11th in Solar System/2nd in Venus)
Venus has tectonic activities not like Mercury who didn’t have any tectonic activities. However, unlike Earth, Venus doesn’t have tectonic plates, it developed mountains, volcanoes, rifts, folds, faults and valleys that could define continents. (Venus is really hot planet whose average temperature is 464 °C which made magma’s coagulation hard, and crust’s melting easy. So, that’s why Venus couldn’t develop a global tectonic plate system.) The largest one is Aphrodite Terra named after the Greek goddess, Aphrodite. The series of local rifts cause the continent to spread out which made a mega-continent. One of the biggest rift is Artemis Hasma located southern tip of the continent. These rifts also made continent have plateaus like Ovda Regio in the west,- Thetis Regio in the middle, and Atla Regio in the east which made relatively flat.
>Area: 8,500,000 km squared (11th in Solar System/2nd in Venus) ≈ Australia
>Location: North Pole and high latitude region of Venus
>Highest Point: Maxwell Montes > 11000 m (3rd in Solar System/1st in Venus)
Ishtar Terra is smaller and mountainous continent of Venus which is named after Akkadian goddess, Ishtar. Ishtar Terra was created by the compression of the crust from Equator to the pole which made the continent quite mountainous and volcanic. You can find the tallest peak in not only in Ishtar Terra but also in whole Venus, Maxwell Montes.
-Oceans of Venus
Just like Mercury, Venus has very little water. So we have to define ocean with elevation and the non-continental landmass. Unlike Earth whose surface’s 25% is covered with continental crust, only 8% of Venusian surface is continental crust. So almost all surface of Venus is oceanic (non-continental).
-Atlanta Planitia (Venusian Northern Lowlands)
>Atlanta Planitia (Venusian Northern Lowlands)
>Area: 211,600,000 km squared (2nd in Solar System/2nd in Venus) ≈ twice the size of Atlantic Ocean
>Location: Northern Hemisphere of Venus excluding Ishtar Terra and Aphrodite Terra
Venusian ocean is divided into two. Northern ocean which located between Ishtar Terra in the north and Aphrodite Terra in the south, and southern ocean which is in the bottom of Aphrodite Terra. The northern ocean is Atlanta Planitia whose land is low compared to the south. Its crust is generally smooth and flat, because most of it is non-continental crust.
-Helen Planitia (Venusian Southern Lowlands)
>Helen Planitia (Venusian Southern Lowlands)
>Area: 229,600,000 km squared (1st in Solar System/1st in Venus) ≈ all the oceans in the Earth combined except Pacific Ocean
>Location: Southern Hemisphere of Venus except southern Aphrodite Terra
The southern Venusian ocean is the largest ocean in the Solar System little less than twice of the size of whole Mars. Although it is planitia, its land is quite continental. That’s because it has the base of third landmass, Lada Terra. Lada Terra is also a continental landmass formed by a compression of the crust from Equator to the pole. However, due to unknown reason, it is almost below average elevation except for Abkhazia-sized area. So this is the reason why it is kind of less smoother, flatter and lower than the Northern one.
Can you find two continents in this picture? Try to find for rifts of Aphrodite Terra.
Today, we learned about 2 continents and 2 oceans of Venus, Aphrodite Terra, Ishtar Terra, Atlanta Planitia, and Helen Planitia. I hope you could grow your interest about Venus and its geography. Thank you, and stay tuned.