Volcanos need volatiles (with their low boiling points) like water and carbon dioxide. (Remember: V's need V's.) Thus, this finding was a bit of a shock to some researchers who published research in late March of this year looking at the ages of craters on the planet:
MESSENGER VOLCANIC DATA FROM MERCURY
These eruptions occurred from 3.0 to 1.5 billion years ago, relatively recently compared to the 4.5 billion year old planet. Investigators had thought Mercury was dry as a fossilized bone (I never liked the expression dry as a bone since living bone has all that smooth, relatively juicy marrow in the middle). Plus, it's a good excuse, IMHO, to post a photo of fossilized bone on this April Tuesday:
The relatively large iron core of Mercury has also puzzled investigators. Some thought this large core may have been the result of an outer layer of Mercury being burned up so close to the Sun or blasted away by a meteorite hitting the planet. But, the presence of volatiles tends to negate these ideas. Back to the drawing board.
And, it is back to the drawing board of the night sky this Tuesday evening to see the brilliant burnt orange Mars rising in the eastern sky at sunset:
Mars will be in opposition (aligning) to the Earth in its orbit so will rise in the eastern sky at only 57 million miles away, move through that night drawing board and set in the western sky as our Sun rises tomorrow morning. Definitely worth a look with binoculars tonight!
How to tie together fleet-footed Mercury which shares its name with the fast-moving element mercury (Hg) and Mars, named after the fiery god of War? A birthday party for the Sun: they had to planet of course. ;-)
Here's hoping that pun got you right in your solar plexus (plexus being from the Latin for braid--see triple braid below)
and that it will make you laugh to your non-iron core.
I created today's PEOTS as a bit of a haven of wonder at things happening elsewhere ;-) Oh, the third M of the braid to go with Mercury and Mars? I will leave that up to you creative, fellow bloggers. What do you suggest?
Look up tonight!
Word Woman (Scientific Steph)
P.S. And remember: My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nothing (Oh, Pluto, we miss those Nine Pizzas!)