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The Sun-nearest planet. Mineralogical data is mostly from infra-red spectroscopic measurements.
Note: beside common species/groups like feldspar, plagioclase, pyroxene, and olivine (and maybe graphite), the listed minerals are more like proposals rather than 100%-confirmed finds.
Radar features (imaging by the Mercury Dual-Imaging System with Wide-Angle Camera with 8 filters from 433 to 996 nm, within the MESSENGER, aka MErcury Surface Space ENvironment GEochemistry, spacecraft):
1. Radar-bright areas, heavily cratered, may contain some impact-derived excavated materials (impact ejecta) - near the equator.
2. Dark plains - located west to the Caloris Basin; volcanic plains younger than the Basin interior. Likely built of oligoclase basalts.
3. Caloris Basin - a site with intrusive and extrusive volcanic features.
The results of the imaging are in the form of reflectance spectra, showing absorption features (Vilas et al., 2014 & 2016). In general, the imaging revealed the presence of vents, pyroclastics and other extrusive volcanism signs. There are Mg-rich orthopyroxene and olivine; Ca-, Na- and Mg-rich clinopyroxene; K-feldspar; Na-bearing plagioclase; small amounts of both pyrope and grossular are possible. Rutile is most likely present, but perovskite is also likely.
Quite recently a sulphide mineralization at the Dominici crater (see the sublocality) was suggested. Calcium sulphide (likely oldhamite) is predicted to be the major lithophile sulphide on the planet (Villas et al., 2014 & 2016).
The resurfacing magmas had low to intermediate silica saturation.
Remote sensing suggests that the reason of the relatively dark hue of the planet's surface is due to a low-reflectance material within impact craters and their ejecta. The infrared spectroscopy suggests the presence of carbon, in an amount 1-3 wt.% greater than the surrounding. The theory's author's (Peplowski et al., 2016) confirm the presence of graphite, mixed with volcanic, as a remnant of the planet's graphite crust, that would float over the magma ocean in the early Mercury's history. The competing theory is that the darkening material was brought by comets (Syal et al., 2015). The further studies (Denevi et al., 2016) seem to confirm the first theory.
Mineral ListMineral list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities
2 valid minerals.
Localities in this Region
This page contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.
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Sprague, A.L., Donaldson Hanna, K.L., Kozlowski, R.W.H., Helbert, J., Maturilli, A., Warell, J.B., Hora, J.L. (2009): Spectral emissivity measurements of Mercury’s surface indicate Mg- and Ca-rich mineralogy, K-spar, Na-rich plagioclase, rutile, with possible
perovskite, and garnet. Planetary and Space Science: 57: 364-383
Vilas, F., Domingue, D.L., Helbert, J., D'Amore, M., Izenberg, N.R., Klima, R.L., Stockstill-Cahill, K.R., Head, J.W. (2014): Dominici crater wall hollows: potential spectral evidence for sulfide mineralogy on Mercury. 45th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, pdf. no 1296
Syal, M.B., Schultz, P.H., Riner, M.A. (2015): Darkening of Mercury's surface by cometary carbon. Nature Geoscience: 8: 352-356
Peplowski, P.N., Klima, R.L., Lawrence, D.J., Ernst, C.M., Denevi, B.W., Frank, E.A., Goldsten, J.O., Murchie, S.L., Nittler, L.R., Solomon, S.C. (2016): Remote sensing evidence for an ancient carbon-bearing crust on Mercury. Nature Geoscience: 9: 273-276
Vilas, F., Domingue, D.L., Helbert, J., D'Amore, M., Maturilli, A., Klima, R.L., Stockstill-Cahill, K.R., Murchie, S.L., Izenberg, N.R., Blewett, D.T., Vaughan, W.M., Head, J.W. (2016): Mineralogical indicators of Mercury's hollows composition in MESSENGER color observations. Geophysical Research Letters: 43(4): 1450-1456
Denevi, B.W., Ernst, C.M., Prockter, L.M., Robinson, M.S., Spudis, P.D., Klima, R.L., Murchie, S.L., Solomon, S.C., Whitten, J.L., Povilaitis, R.Z., Kinczyk, M.J. (2016): The origin of Mercury's oldest surfaces and the nature of intercrater plains resurfacing. 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, pdf. no 1624