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Science. 1995 Jun 9;268(5216):1455-7.

Evidence for a basalt-free surface on Mercury and implications for internal heat.

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  • 1Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.

Abstract

Microwave and mid-infrared observations reveal that Mercury's surface contains less FeO + TiO2 and at least as much feldspar as the lunar highlands. The results are compatible with the high albedo (brightness) of Mercury's surface at visible wavelengths in suggesting a rock and soil composition that is devoid of basalt, the primary differentiate of terrestrial mantles. The occurrence of a basalt-free, highly differentiated crust is in accord with recent models of the planet's thermal evolution and suggests that Mercury has retained a hot interior as a result of a combination of inefficient mantle convection and minimal volcanic heat loss.

PMID:
7770770
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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