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Images of surface volatiles in Mercury's polar craters acquired by the MESSENGER spacecraft

Nancy L. Chabot, Carolyn M. Ernst, Brett W. Denevi, Hari Nair, Ariel N. Deutsch, David T. Blewett, Scott L. Murchie, Gregory A. Neumann, Erwan Mazarico, David A. Paige, John K. Harmon, James W. Head and Sean C. Solomon
Images of surface volatiles in Mercury's polar craters acquired by the MESSENGER spacecraft
Geology (Boulder) (October 2014) 42 (12): 1051-1054


Images acquired by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft haverevealed the morphology of frozen volatiles in Mercury's permanentlyshadowed polar craters and provide insight into the mode of emplacementand evolution of the polar deposits. The images show extensive,spatially continuous regions with distinctive reflectance properties. Asite within Prokofiev crater identified as containing widespread surfacewater ice exhibits a cratered texture that resembles the neighboringsunlit surface except for its uniformly higher reflectance, indicatingthat the surficial ice was emplaced after formation of the underlyingcraters. In areas where water ice is inferred to be present but coveredby a thin layer of dark, organic-rich volatile material, regions withuniformly lower reflectance extend to the edges of the shadowed areasand terminate with sharp boundaries. The sharp boundaries indicatethat the volatile deposits at Mercury's poles are geologically young,relative to the time scale for lateral mixing by impacts, and either arerestored at the surface through an ongoing process or were deliveredto the planet recently.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 42
Serial Issue: 12
Title: Images of surface volatiles in Mercury's polar craters acquired by the MESSENGER spacecraft
Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, United States
Pages: 1051-1054
Published: 20141015
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 26
Accession Number: 2014-102332
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2014363
Illustration Description: illus.
Secondary Affiliation: NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, USA, United StatesUniversity of California, Los Angeles, USA, United StatesNational Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, USA, United StatesBrown University, USA, United StatesLamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201451
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