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Volcanism on Mercury : a new model for the history of magma ascent and eruption.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2008
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume35
PagesL23205
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We use the identification of volcanism on Mercury, together with lobate, flow‐front like topography, crustal composition information and data on the stress state and history of the lithosphere, to derive a new model for the ascent and eruption of magma on Mercury. We find that extrusion is likely to be dominated by high‐effusion rate events. Initial emplacement of dikes in the crust and extrusions to the surface will result in a denser crust, favoring even more extrusive volcanism. This will be followed by cooling associated with planetary thermal evolution that will rapidly decrease the ability of magma to reach the surface, resulting in a decline and termination of volcanism following the emplacement and deformation of regional smooth plains. These predictions and the resulting history can be tested with observations from missions to Mercury.