Long-lived explosive volcanism on Mercury

Thomas, Rebecca J.; Rothery, David A.; Conway, Susan J. and (2014). Long-lived explosive volcanism on Mercury. Geophysical Research Letters, 41(17) pp. 6084–6092.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/2014GL061224


The duration and timing of volcanic activity on Mercury are key indicators of the thermal evolution of the planet and provide a valuable comparative example for other terrestrial bodies. The majority of effusive volcanism on Mercury appears to have occurred early in the planet's geological history (~4.1–3.55 Ga), but there is also evidence for explosive volcanism. Here we present evidence that explosive volcanism occurred from at least 3.9 Ga until less than a billion years ago and so was substantially more long-lived than large-scale lava plains formation. This indicates that thermal conditions within Mercury have allowed partial melting of silicates through the majority of its geological history and that the overall duration of volcanism on Mercury is similar to that of the Moon despite the different physical structure, geological history, and composition of the two bodies.

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