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Shrinking Mercury is tectonically active, like Earth: NASA

According to data collected by NASA's Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) probe, the innermost planet of our solar system is the latest to join the tectonic club. 


Shrinking Mercury is tectonically active, like Earth: NASA
Image credit: NASA

New Delhi: Mercury is no more an inert planet. A NASA-funded research has detected small cliff-like formation in the interior of the planet that contradicts the previous belief that Mercury has been inactive for a long time.

According to data collected by NASA's Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) probe, the innermost planet of our solar system is the latest to join the tectonic club.

The findings published in the October issue of Nature Geoscience reveals that the scarps on the surface of planet's surface are small enough that scientists believe they must be geologically young, which means Mercury is still contracting and that Earth is not the only tectonically active planet in our solar system, as previously thought.

The images of the Mercury's cliff formation was collected during the final 18 months of MESSENGER's mission, before it plummeted to the surface of Mercury on April 30, 2015.

This active faulting is consistent with the recent finding that Mercury’s global magnetic field has existed for billions of years and with the slow cooling of Mercury’s still hot outer core. It’s likely that the smallest of the terrestrial planets also experiences Mercury-quakes—something that may one day be confirmed by seismometers, according to NASA.

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