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Mercury; inside the iron planet

Steven A. Hauck and Catherine L. Johnson
Mercury; inside the iron planet
Elements (February 2019) 15 (1): 21-26


NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015 and has provided new insights into the interior of the innermost planet. Mercury has a large metallic core approximately 2,000 km in radius covered by a thin layer of rock only approximately 420 km thick. Furthermore, a surprisingly large fraction of this outer layer was produced by melting of deeper rocks, forming a light crust approximately 35 km thick. The core is now known to produce a magnetic field that has intriguing similarities and differences compared to Earth's field. Some rocks near the surface are magnetized, and the strongest magnetizations are likely to be >3.5 billion years old. This new understanding of Mercury's interior is helping reveal how rocky planets operate.

ISSN: 1811-5209
Serial Title: Elements
Serial Volume: 15
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Mercury; inside the iron planet
Affiliation: Case Western Reserve University, Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Cleveland, OH, United States
Pages: 21-26
Published: 201902
Text Language: English
Publisher: Mineralogical Society of America and Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland and Mineralogical Association of Canada and Geochemical Society and Clay Minerals Society, International
References: 30
Accession Number: 2019-026968
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
Secondary Affiliation: University of British Columbia, CAN, Canada
Country of Publication: International
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, copyright, Mineralogical Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 2019
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