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Mercury's Surface Composition and Character as Measured by Ground-based Observations
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Astronomy and Space Physics.
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2007 (English)In: Space Science Reviews, ISSN 0038-6308, E-ISSN 1572-9672, Vol. 132, no 2-4, 399-431 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Mercury’s surface is thought to be covered with highly space-weathered silicate material. The regolith is composed of material accumulated during the time of planetary formation, and subsequently from comets, meteorites, and the Sun. Ground-based observations indicate a heterogeneous surface composition with SiO2 content ranging from 39 to 57 wt%. Visible and near-infrared spectra, multi-spectral imaging, and modeling indicate expanses of feldspathic, well-comminuted surface with some smooth regions that are likely to be magmatic in origin with many widely distributed crystalline impact ejecta rays and blocky deposits. Pyroxene spectral signatures have been recorded at four locations. Although highly space weathered, there is little evidence for the conversion of FeO to nanophase metallic iron particles (npFe0), or “iron blebs,” as at the Moon. Near- and mid-infrared spectroscopy indicate clino- and ortho-pyroxene are present at different locations. There is some evidence for no- or low-iron alkali basalts and feldspathoids. All evidence, including microwave studies, point to a low iron and low titanium surface. There may be a link between the surface and the exosphere that may be diagnostic of the true crustal composition of Mercury. A structural global dichotomy exists with a huge basin on the side not imaged by Mariner 10. This paper briefly describes the implications for this dichotomy on the magnetic field and the 3 : 2 spin : orbit coupling. All other points made above are detailed here with an account of the observations, the analysis of the observations, and theoretical modeling, where appropriate, that supports the stated conclusions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 132, no 2-4, 399-431 p.
Keyword [en]
Mercury, Planetary surface composition, Mercury’s surface composition, Remote sensing, Ground-based observations, Spectroscopy
National Category
Physical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-24841DOI: 10.1007/s11214-007-9221-3ISI: 000251996200009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-24841DiVA: diva2:52615
Available from: 2008-01-25 Created: 2008-01-25 Last updated: 2011-03-25Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttp://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007SSRv..132..399S

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