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View Full Version : Mercury is Less Like the Moon than Previously Believed



Fraser
2008-Jan-31, 02:10 AM
With Mercury fading in MESSENGER's rear view mirror, scientists are just starting to pore through the torrent of images sent back. And as you can probably guess, the new mysteries are piling up fast and furious. The planet is much less like the Moon than scientists previously thought.

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/01/30/mercury-is-less-like-the-moon-than-previously-believed/)

JESMKS
2008-Jan-31, 05:32 AM
Whats a "volcanic fault"?

BigDon
2008-Jan-31, 07:27 AM
Alright! I've been waiting for so long for the science guys to take a long close look at Mercury.

Noclevername
2008-Jan-31, 07:31 AM
Whats a "volcanic fault"?

When volcanoes form, they push magma upwards. The pressure can crack (fault) the overlying stone, like a tree root growing under a sidewalk.

aurora
2008-Jan-31, 05:47 PM
Unsupported Hawaiian shield volcanoes each have 3 rift zones, radiating out away from the central caldera area. Most of them actually have less than three because they are partially supported by a neighboring volcano. For example, Kilauea only has 2 rift zones because it is growing on the flank of the much larger Mauna Loa.

I don't know if the rift zones are in any way similar to the faults in the original article.

Argos
2008-Jan-31, 06:20 PM
Im curious as to what could be driving the magnetic field...

Nadme
2008-Jan-31, 07:01 PM
Wish MESSENGER were already orbiting Mercury!

The Spider is cool.

So is the info about its exosphere and tail.

snowflakeuniverse
2008-Feb-03, 11:24 AM
Hi Argos

Mecury has a metal liquid core, so the same process that generates our magnetic field for Earth would generates Mercury's magnetic field.

John, aka snowflakeuniverse

antoniseb
2008-Feb-03, 03:49 PM
Mecury has a metal liquid core, so the same process that generates our magnetic field for Earth would generates Mercury's magnetic field.
This is probably the case, though it is worth noting that Mercury spins much more slowly, and would have very sloshy tides owing to its eccentric orbit, so the mechanism would be similar, but less constant, and less intense.

korjik
2008-Feb-04, 06:57 AM
This is probably the case, though it is worth noting that Mercury spins much more slowly, and would have very sloshy tides owing to its eccentric orbit, so the mechanism would be similar, but less constant, and less intense.

When did they start thinking Mercury had a liquid core? I thought it was too small to have retained enough heat for that.

Jens
2008-Feb-07, 10:36 AM
The Spider is cool.


Anyone have an idea what those streaks are? Lava flows? I assume that they are ridges and not ditches. Is it something like, a meteor impact caused a volcanic eruption?

tadj
2008-Feb-08, 09:49 AM
C'mon you guys, if you are challenging the article please explain why. The article that started this thread states that Mercury does not have a liquid core so it hasn't sloshed or splashed in eons. The actual extract is (including the original syntax error):
"...Even though Mercury cooled down and solidified eons ago, it still has an magnetic field..."

snowflakeuniverse said: "Mecury has a metal liquid core..."
Antyoniseb agreed and added: "(Mercury) would have very sloshy tides..."

Noclevername
2008-Feb-08, 10:08 AM
We don't actually know what's going on inside Mercury's core. It's not clear if it's got some liquid or not. The article stated it as a certainty, but that's just not the case. Per the Wikipedia article on the Geology of Mercury:

Of all the terrestrial planets in the Solar System, the geology of Mercury is the least understood.

tadj
2008-Feb-08, 10:51 AM
Thanks NoCleverName.
I read the item you suggested and that led me on to further articles and I found an especially interesting one entitled MERCURY LIBRATIONS MEASURED WITH EARTH-BASED RADAR that suggested Mercury (a) Had a liquid core and (b) Had a solid core. It also promised that extra data from Messenger might help to resolve the issue -- so for now everyone is right and/or wrong.
I am now looking forward to the results from this new data.

Argos
2008-Feb-08, 11:43 AM
Yeah, what I mean is that it would be interesting to know what drives the mag field case Mercury does not have a liquid core.