Venus: Topography

Venus: Topography thumbnail


Most of Venus appears to be covered with gently rolling plains. Two areas rise up above the rest of the surface and are referred to as " continents." The first, Ishtar Terra is located in the Northern Hemisphere and is about the size of Australia. The highest point on Venus, the mountain Maxwell Montes is located on Ishtar Terra. The second continent, Aphrodite Terra, is located along the equator and is about the size of South America. There are no small craters in the surface for the apparent reason that the thick surrounding atmosphere disintegrates the meteors as they travel through the atmosphere. Where there are craters on Venus, they are usually bunched together indicating that a large meteor broke up as it traveled through the atmosphere and headed for Venus’s surface.

The surface of Venus in geological terms is relatively young, dating about 300 to 500 million years old. Roughly 90% of the surface appears to be solidified basalt lava. More than 1000 volcanoes, with diameters in excess of 12 miles, cover the surface of Venus.

There are two datasets that display information about the topography of Venus. This dataset is a topographic map that uses color to represent height, with red for high elevations and blue for low elevations. The intensity of the color is proportional to the radar brightness. The second map is Venus Shaded Relief, which is a topographic map that has been rendered so that it appears three-dimensional by creating shadows that would be cast if there was a light source. This map was created as if the light source comes from the east.

Notable Features

  • Ishtar Terra in Northern Hemisphere (about size of Australia
    • Maxwell Montes, highest poin on Venus
  • Aphrodite Terra along the Equator (about size of South America)
  • Lack of small craters and big craters in groups

Related Datasets