Does Mercury have plate tectonics?


Does Mercury have plate tectonics?

Tectonics of Earth:

The field of plate tectonics is centered around the outer shell dynamics of Earth. The processes involved are closely linked to formation of mountains and volcanoes as well as reconstruction of continents,and oceans. An important feature of tectonics is that the movement of plates on Earth's surface is responsible for phenomena such as earthquakes. The outer shell of Earth, containing the moving plates, is known as the lithosphere.

Answer and Explanation:

Mercury, apart from Earth, is the only other tectonically active planet in our solar system. While it was previously believed that Mercury was tectonically inactive (on the basis of images from Mariner 10), recent images from NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft suggest that the first planet in the solar system is contracting. Images obtained by MESSENGER show recent formation of scarps, unseen in earlier images. These geologically young faults are believed to be formed as the hot outer core of the planet continues to slowly cool and the surface contracts. As of 2016, Mercury was considered tectonically active. However, the speed and nature of the tectonics remains unknown.

Learn more about this topic:

Plate Tectonics: Theory & Definition

from General Studies Earth & Space Science: Help & Review

Chapter 7 / Lesson 5

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