Evidence of Volcanic Activity on Mercury
This region on Mercury appears to have experienced a high level of volcanic activity. The bright yellow area near the top right is centered on a rimless depression that is a possible site for an explosive volcanic vent. The double-ring basin near the bottom center of the image has a smooth interior that may be the result of effusive volcanism. (Effusive volcanism is when lava pours out over the land instead of being thrown into the air.) Smooth plains, thought to be a result of earlier episodes of volcanic activity, cover much of the surrounding area.
Special techniques were used to create this image so the geology and composition of the area could be more easily studied. The images, taken on Sept. 29, 2009, are part of NASA's MESSENGER mission.
Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington