It so happens to be the case that Mercury is a tectonically active planet like out home earth.
Pictures obtained by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft show that certain tiny hidden fault scarps exist on the surface of Mercury. These nascent scarps suggest that Mercury is still contracting at present.
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This can mean only one thing and that is that the earth is not the only tectonically active planet as it was erstwhile thought to be. The findings were relayed via a paper in a journal. The newly discovered scarps are so small that they must be newly formed.
Yet these scarps hold immense geological importance for the planet Mercury. Mercury evolved through the times since its inception at the beginning of the solar system.
Thus Mercury has joined the ranks of planets like our earth. It is not only tectonically active but its center is getting colder with the times and it is contracting on the exterior.
Huge fault scarps were found in the flybys of Mariner 10 way back in the 70s. Thus the overall contraction of Mercury was confirmed. As its interior cooled, the exterior was thrust towards itself thus leading to the formation of cliffs and rocky precipices in the process.
In the last months of the MESSENGER mission, the pictures taken of the planet were rather close up ones. That was when the small fault scarps were observed for the first time.
They were only a few meters in height. In length they ranged up to a few kilometers. Furthermore, it was surmised that they must be young to have withstood the meteor bombardment the planet is often subject to.
The finding of the small scarps is rather like finding a small plant belonging to a species that was thought to have vanished from the earth.
These small scarps are like saplings that become Giant Redwoods later on. Mercury’s global magnetic field has been functional since billions of years.
This fact is consistent with the lengthy slow cooling of the interior of Mercury. Also Mercury will be subject to earthquakes and seismicity in the present times as well as the future.
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These findings are reported in a paper led by Smithsonian senior scientist Thomas R. Watters, scheduled for publication in the October issue of Nature Geoscience.