Giant Great Valley Discovered On Mercury

Posted: Nov 21 2016, 5:36am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Giant Great Valley Discovered on Mercury
Using colorized topography, Mercury's 'great valley' (dark blue) and Rembrandt impact basin (purple, upper right) are revealed in this high-resolution digital elevation model merged with an image mosaic obtained by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/Carnegie Institution of Washington/DLR/Smithsonian Institution
  • Giant ‘great valley’ resides on planet Mercury

The newly discovered valley is so huge it makes the Grand Canyon look miniscule

Scientists have discovered the presence of a giant valley far away on the planet Mercury. The giant valley is so humongous it puts the Grand Canyon to shame in size.

The valley was discovered by a collaboration of scientists. The scientists belonged to the University of Maryland, the Smithsonian Institution, the German Institute of Planetary Research and Moscow State University.

According to the scientists the valley is of the utmost importance because it holds the key to the geological history of the planet Mercury and also all the planets in the Solar System.

The valley was located utilizing stereo images obtained by NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft.

The structure named the ‘great valley’ so far lies in the southern hemisphere of Mercury. The valley also overlaps the great recently created crater called the Rembrandt Basin. The discovery of the valley came to light in a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The scientists believe the valley formed roughly 3-4 billion years ago. Unlike Earth the planet Mercury only has a single, solid lithosphere covering the entirety of the planet.

Early on when the planet cooled the lithosphere may have buckled and folded to form the valley. Laurent Montesi, a co-author of the research paper stated the valley is the first evidence of large large-scale buckling on a planet.

The ‘great valley’ is 600 miles long and 250 miles wide, while its sides are so steep they dip more than 2 miles below the surrounding terrain. In simpler terms the valley when compared to the Grand Canyon would be double in its depth and reach all the way from Washington, D.C. to New York City.

The findings of this research paper published online November 16, 2016 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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