31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 64. Venus
Contributed Oral Parallel Session, Friday, October 15, 1999, 8:30-9:40am, Sala Plenaria

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[64.02] The Abundance of Sulfur in Venus Magmas

M.A. Bullock (Southwest Research Institute), D.H. Grinspoon (Univ. of Colorado, LASP)

Outgassing of sulfur gases due to volcanism within the past 100 My on Venus is probably responsible for the planetís globally encircling H2SO4 cloud layers. Dramatic changes in volcanic output on Venus would have altered the atmospheric inventory of sulfur gases, and hence the structure of its clouds (Bullock and Grinspoon, Icarus, submitted 1999). Although Magellan radar images provide some constraints on the magnitude of volcanism in the geologically recent past, little is known of the sulfur content of Venus lavas. In order to assess the effects that Venusí volcanic history may have had on cloud and therefore climate change, it is desirable to place some constraints on the abundance of sulfur in Venus magmas. The sulfur content of terrestrial volcanic lavas varies widely, depending upon the local sedimentary environment and the source and history of upwelling magmas.

We estimate the average abundance of sulfur in Venus lavas from an analysis of the production and loss of atmospheric SO2. The volumetric rate of resurfacing on Venus in the recent past is approximately 0.1 to 2 km3/yr (Bullock et al., JGR 20, 1993, Basilevsky and Head, GRL 23, 1996). Outgassed SO2 reacts quickly with crustal carbonate -- residence times in the atmosphere with respect to the reaction SO2 + CaCO3 <=> CaSO4 + CO are about 2-30 My (Fegley and Prinn, Nature 337, 1989, Bullock and Grinspoon, Icarus, submitted 1999). Assuming steady state conditions and an abundance of 25-180 ppm of atmospheric SO2 (Oyama et al., JGR 85, 1980, Bertaux et al., JGR 101, 1996), we will discuss constraints on the abundance of this important greenhouse and cloud-precursor gas in Venus lavas.


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