Evidence of Volcanic Activity on Mercury
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Evidence of Volcanic Activity on Mercury

January 22, 2010

  • Date Acquired: September 29, 2009
  • Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) and Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
  • Resolution: 1.0 kilometers/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel)
  • Scale: The double-ring basin in the middle of the image is 290 kilometers (180 miles) in diameter

Of Interest: This enhanced-color view was created with a statistical technique that highlights subtle color variations seen in the 11 WAC filters. These variations are often related to composition. Merged with images from the higher-resolution NAC, the two sets of observations tell the story of the geology of the area and the compositional differences of the features observed. This region, viewed in detail for the first time during the third flyby, appears to have experienced a high level of volcanic activity. The bright yellow area near the top right is centered on a rimless depression that is a candidate site for an explosive volcanic vent. The double-ring basin in the center of the image has a smooth interior that may be the result of effusive volcanism. Smooth plains, thought to be a result of earlier episodes of volcanic activity, cover much of the surrounding area.

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