Document Type



Sediment generation and distribution on Venus is dominated by impact crater sediment events, yet the relationship between sediment and slope processes has not been fully analyzed. The Venera lander studies identified possible sedimentary structures, which supported newer theories on Venus’s regolith composition and formation by indicating that sediment processes contribute to the regolith. The current hypothesis that most sediment is generated by impact crater ejecta, as seen by radar-dark parabolas, may not be able to account for all of the regolith and observed aeolian landforms. More sediment is observed than can be generated from impact ejecta. Moreover, tesserae and other high elevation areas on Venus are rough terrains that may act as a trap for ejecta, hiding even more sediment and exacerbating this issue of sediment generation. Tesserae have erosional patterns similar to terrestrial streams, meaning slope processes could factor into sediment generation. Other mountainous landforms on Venus, such as Maxwell Montes, can help gain insight on other processes that generate sediment.

Analyzing the slopes of Maxwell Montes and comparing those results to a terrestrial analogue of the Andes Mountains in the Atacama Desert could yield a connection between slope failure and sediment generation and distribution. Using Synthetic Aperture Radar data from the Magellan mission to Venus and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data for the Andes, I created slope profiles of Maxwell Montes and the western slopes of the Andes. Comparing the two, the steeper slopes of the Maxwell Montes could indicate slope failures occur, which in turn yields sediment that I looked for on the SAR data. No mass wasting events were seen, yet this does not rule out their existence.

Date Awarded

Spring 2022



Advisor 1

Jennifer Whitten

Appendices.xlsx (1060 kB)
Appendix tables for the raw data featured in the slope profiles.