Mercury - view towards the Sun from the top of an ancient compressional scarp.
Mercury: The Sun's Anvil
Mercury - View towards the Sun from the top of an ancient compressional scarp.
In this landscape of Mercury we stand high atop an uplifted escarpment or cliff-like ridge providing a lofty overlook on the battered plains below. These escarpments, called compression folds or scarps, are a common feature on the surface of Mercury, often stretching for hundreds of kilometers, and are surmised to be the result of the crust deforming while constricting as the interior of the planet slightly shrank during cooling. One can see the tracks of boulders that had been dislodged by the seismic shaking of ancient impacts, sending them rolling down-slope to record the event in their tracks for any who dare visit to read the stories they tell. The scene is deceptively peaceful, but every now and then, between paced centuries, an errant comet shatters the peace to remind Mercury of its torturous past.
Original Painting © by A.A.schaller & Donna Tracy - OmniCosm Studios for Griffith Observatory, November 2005
13050x9900p at 300ppi (FOV width~82 degrees; ~160 pixels/degree)