Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Crustal Plateau

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_85


Elevated, large crustal block.

Regional Variations


Large expanses of high-standing topography in the northern hemisphere of Mercury do not appear to correlate spatially with free-air gravity anomalies (Smith et al. 2012). This observation suggests that topography on Mercury may be largely compensated isostatically, such that high-standing topography is underlain by thicker crust than surrounding lows.

Parts of this high topography are bounded by large-scale thrust systems, some of which form fold and thrust belts ( mountain belt), which may have isolated the thicker crustal blocks from neighboring thinner portions of Mercury’s crust. As the planet’s interior cooled, thicker crustal blocks thus likely overthrust neighboring low-lying terrain in response to lithospheric shortening (Byrne et al. 2014).


On Venus, the term crustal plateau is applied to large, tessera-bearing elevated blocks (see  crustal plateau (Venus)).


The Aristarchus Plateau (diameter: 240...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access


  1. Anguita F, Fernández C, Cordero G, Carrasquilla S, Anguita J et al (2006) Evidences for a Noachian–Hesperian orogeny in Mars. Icarus 185(2):331–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Byrne PK, Klimczak C, Şengör AMC, Solomon SC, Watters TR, Hauck SA II (2014) Mercury’s global contraction much greater than earlier estimates. Nat Geosci 7:301–307. doi:10.1038/ngeo2097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chevrel SD, Pinet PC, Daydou Y, Le Mouélic S, Langevin Y, Costard F, Erard S (2009) The Aristarchus Plateau on the Moon: mineralogical and structural study from integrated Clementine UV Vis NIR spectral data. Icarus 199:9–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dohm JM, Tanaka KL (1999) Geology of the Thaumasia region, Mars: plateau development, valley origins, and magmatic evolution. Planet Space Sci 47:411–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Montgomery DR, Som SM, Jackson MPA, Schereiber BC, Gillespie AR, Adams JB (2009) Continental-scale salt tectonics on Mars and the origin of Valles Marineris and associated outflow channels. Geol Soc Am Bull 121(1–2):117–133. doi:10.1130/B26307.1Google Scholar
  6. Nahm AL, Schultz RA (2010) Evaluation of the orogenic belt hypothesis for the formation of the Thaumasia Highlands, Mars. J Geophys Res 115, E04008. doi:10.1029/2009JE003327Google Scholar
  7. Smith DE et al (2012) Gravity field and internal structure of Mercury from MESSENGER. Science 336:214–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Spudis PD, McGovern PJ, Kiefer WS (2013) Large shield volcanoes on the Moon. J Geophys Res Planet 118. doi:10.1002/jgre.20059Google Scholar
  9. Williams J-P, Nimmo F, Moore WB, Paige DA (2008) The formation of Tharsis on Mars: what the line-of-sight gravity is telling us. J Geophys Res 113, E10011. doi:10.1029/2007JE003050CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Ames Research Center/NPPMoffett FieldUSA
  2. 2.Lunar and Planetary InstituteUniversities Space Research AssociationHoustonUSA