We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:17 PM
Mercury May Have Harbored an Ancient Magma Ocean Massive Lava Flows May Have Given Rise to Two Distinct Rock Types
Massachusetts Institute of Technology said:
By analyzing Mercuryís rocky surface, scientists have been able to partially reconstruct the planetís history over billions of years. Now, drawing upon the chemical composition of rock features on the planetís surface, scientists at MIT have proposed that Mercury may have harbored a large, roiling ocean of magma very early in its history, shortly after its formation about 4.5 billion years ago.
The scientists analyzed data gathered by MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging), a NASA probe that has orbited the planet since March 2011. Later that year, a group of scientists analyzed X-ray fluorescence data from the probe, and identified two distinct compositions of rocks on the planetís surface. The discovery unearthed a planetary puzzle: What geological processes could have given rise to such distinct surface compositions?
"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001
Perhaps Mercury was once the core of a larger planet that suffered some catastrophe early in life of Solar system and had it's mantle ripped off. Not sure how this would occur, though I would think by some very close encounter with a much larger body. Perhaps if mercury was still very young it was not fully stabilised and gravity of larger body ripped away mantle?