Image of the Day: Geysers of Mercury

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Recent discoveries by the Mercury MESSENGER Space Probe have included evidence of shallow depressions which have formed into non-uniform crater structures which appear to be recent. In addition, they have a high albedo – indicative of some sort of reflective material. The reflective material is solid state hydrogen that is released, forming a type of “geyser” on the planet’s surface.


“These hydrogen geysers could certainly have caused the rimless depressions that MESSENGER sees.” says Herndon, a self-proclaimed maverick in the world of planetary geology in an interview with universetoday.com . As the hydrogen is released from below the planet’s surface, it would also react with other elements it would encounter – possibly iron sulphide, commonly found on Mercury’s surface. This would cause a reduction to metallic iron. From there it would form a light “dust” which could account for the bright, new features seen by MESSENGER.

The Daily Galaxy via MESSENGER and universetoday.com

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