Composition and formation of Mercury: Constraints from future electrical conductivity measurements

Research areas:
Year:
2009
Authors:
Journal:
PLANETARY AND SPACE SCIENCE
Volume:
57
Number:
3
Pages:
296-305
Month:
March
ISSN:
0032-0633
Abstract:
Among the terrestrial planets, Mercury's composition is characterized by two specific features: a high density and a low surface FeO content. Based on these two constraints, different geochemical models have been proposed, according to different formation scenarios. Here thermodynamical modeling is used to derive the mantle and crust mineralogy associated with these geochemical models. For each mineralogy, the electrical conductivity profile and associated electromagnetic data are computed. Due to the very different oxide/silicate ratios, most geochemical models proposed for Mercury's formation show very different electromagnetic signatures. As a result, future measurements with MESSENGER and BepiColombo missions will help differentiating between different interior models and different formation scenarios. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.