New features discovered on Mercury could be evidence of hydrogen geysers and metallic iron

Nov 02, 2011 by Tammy Plotner, Universe Today
Mercury MESSENGER Image - Credit: NASA

How long has it been since you’ve taken a good look at Mercury? For the backyard astronomer, all we’ll ever see is the speedy little planet as a bright crescent a few times a year. But, for the MESSENGER spacecraft, Mercury isn’t quite as boring as you might think! Some strange new features have been spotted and a planetary geologist speculates they could be attributed to hydrogen venting from the planet’s interior.

While it’s only been a week since sent back some curious photos of Mercury’s surface, the revelation has created quite a stir in the planetary science community. These observations have included evidence of shallow depressions which have formed into non-uniform crater structures which appear to be recent. In addition, they have a high albedo – indicative of some sort of reflective material. But, what?

According to Marvin Herndon, an independent scientist based in San Diego, Mercury formed under great pressure and high temperature – enough to leave iron in a molten state. If so, it should be responsible for absorbing large amounts of hydrogen. As it cools and transforms to a solid state, the hydrogen is then released, forming a type of “geyser” on the planet’s surface.

“These hydrogen geysers could certainly have caused the rimless depressions that MESSENGER sees.” says Herndon, a self-proclaimed maverick in the world of planetary geology.

As the is released from below the planet’s surface, it would also react with other elements it would encounter – possibly iron sulphide, commonly found on ’s surface. This would cause a reduction to metallic . From there it would form a light “dust” which could account for the bright, new features seen by MESSENGER.

Explore further: New commercial rocket descent data may help NASA with future Mars landings

More information: Explanation for Observed Evidence of Geologically Recent Volatile-Related Activity on Mercury's Surface, arXiv:1110.5796v1 [physics.gen-ph] arxiv.org/abs/1110.5796

Abstract
High resolution images of Mercury's surface, from the MESSENGER spacecraft, reveal many bright deposits associated with irregular, shallow, rimless depressions whose origins were attributed to volatile-related activity, but absent information on the nature and origin of that volatile matter. Here I describe planetary formation, unlike the cited models, and show that primordial condensation from an atmosphere of solar composition at pressures of one atmosphere or above will lead to iron condensing as a liquid and dissolving copious amounts of hydrogen, which is subsequently released as Mercury's core solidifies and escapes from the surface, yielding the observed pit-like features with associated highly-reflecting matter. The exiting hydrogen chemically reduces some iron compound, probably iron sulfide, to the metal, which accounts for the bright deposits.

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kevinrtrs
1.2 / 5 (17) Nov 02, 2011
Mercury is really turning the screws on the accretion theory. It'll be interesting to see what comes out of the assertion that it formed under high pressure and temperature.

On another plane - I haven't seen any mention of it here on Physorg - maybe I missed it:
The latest analysis on the magnetic field strength shows an approx. 27 percent decrease since the last estimate obtained via Mariner 10.
At such a rate of decrease, one has to wonder how it lasted for billions of years - especially since the dynamo theory falls flat on its face given that Mercury rotates only once every 59 earth days.
Then of course there's the sulfur containing deposits which raises questions as to how such a light gas could be so close to the sun in planet formation.
Really exciting stuff. Watch this space[pun] for the next exciting episode.
roboferret
5 / 5 (7) Nov 02, 2011
Kevin, the theory says the hydrogen was dissolved in the liquid iron. Pay attention. You're really scraping the barrel with this accretion nonsense, your god of the gaps must be really feeling the squeeze.
kevinrtrs
1.2 / 5 (17) Nov 02, 2011
Roboferret,
Just how does your answer relate to my statements regarding the accretion theory of planetary formation? Does it support that theory in any way?
Perhaps you might want to climb off the big bang evolutionary theory and look at the facts as presented by the direct observations. They all contradict the theory that planets formed by accretion.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (12) Nov 02, 2011
Mercury is really turning the screws on the accretion theory.

And what, pray tell, does this article have to do with accretion theory? Or the magnetism changes you cite?

At such a rate of decrease, one has to wonder how it lasted for billions of years

You are aware that even on Earth magnetic fields have grown stronger/weaker and even shifted polarity numerous times (see the mid atlantic ridge record)?

You always come in with the same naive argument: "X has changed but if we extrapolate that change in a linear fashion it cannot have occured for billions of years"

Well get this: Change needs not be linear - only simple minds would think that.
Observing a volcano here on Earth even you would not claim that such a volcano has been active forever and will be active forever.

Why do you then keep postulating such nonsense for atmospheric loss, geysers, or changes in magnetic fields on other planets?

The universe is a non-linear place. Get used to it.
roboferret
5 / 5 (10) Nov 02, 2011
Kevin,

The scientists who are forwarding the theory clearly don't have an issue with it. I suppose you have a better education in celestial mechanics than them? Do you even realise that these blogs are vastly simplified nuggets of complex and detailed research?

Perhaps you might want to climb off the big bang evolutionary theory


*Facepalm* what has evolutionary theory got to do with planetary formation?

The thing is Kev, I used to be quite an evangelical creationist myself, before I got involved in real science (and I don't mean dumbed down science blogs). Hell, I've met Ken Ham! The "science" I read in my apologetics magazines and books is laughable now. It's not science worthy of the name and much of it is downright deliberately misleading. The world makes a lot more sense when you don't try and make it fit bronze age mythology. I've looked at the facts. I suggest you do too, I suggest start with an open-minded look into the history of the bible itself.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (7) Nov 02, 2011
Seeing as others have addressed the rest...
Then of course there's the sulfur containing deposits which raises questions as to how such a light gas could be so close to the sun in planet formation.
You're aware that the Sun is primarily made of hydrogen -- THE lightest gas -- and helium -- the second-lightest gas? If those could be not just close to the sun, but IN the sun, what's the problem with sulfur being in the proto-Sun's vicinity whether in gaseous or mineral form?

The lighter, volatile elements were part of the proto-solar cloud, which collapsed into the proto-solar disk. Quite late into the Sun's accretion, when it was close to igniting, the temperatures and pressures in the disk near the Sun were relatively high.

When the Sun ignited, it evaporated off nearby volatile materials, blowing them out with the solar winds. Materials that were heavier/less volatile/clumped and/or gravitationally held together remained, in the form of planets, planetoids, and asteroids.
Deesky
4.9 / 5 (8) Nov 02, 2011
@kev,

Lack of evidence is really turning the screws on accretion religion theory. It'll be interesting to see what comes out of the assertion that it formed under the high pressure of organized, power hungry bullying oppressor states.

On another fairytale plane - I haven't seen any mention of it here on Physorg - maybe I missed it:
The latest analysis on the religious field strength shows an approx. 27 percent decrease since the last estimate obtained via the census.
At such a rate of decrease, one has to wonder how it lasted for thousands of years - especially since religion theory falls flat on its face given that people are starting to think for themselves.
Then of course there's the sulfur containing deposits which raises questions as to how such a light holy ghost/gas could create the sun and planets and everything.
omatumr
1 / 5 (8) Nov 02, 2011
Mercury is close to the Sun and probably receives a high daily dose of solar-wind hydrogen, the product of neutron-decay that the Sun and other stars generate [1] and then discard into interstellar space.

The inner planets accreted in layers, beginning with the formation of their iron cores [2-4] from material close to the pulsar now hidden at the core of the Sun [11.

1. The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011)

http://arxiv.org/...2.1499v1

2. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 6, 346-348 (1969)

3. Geokhimiya No. 10, 1427-1431 (1975)

4. Geochemical Journal 15, 245-267 (1981)

www.omatumr.com/a...eGas.pdf

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://myprofile....anuelo09

Ethelred
5 / 5 (7) Nov 03, 2011
Oliver, since you missed these here they again.

You insist there is such a thing as neutron repulsion. You insist it is strong enough to stop the formation of black holes, not just stellar black holes but ALL black holes no matter what the size. Also it you claim it is long ranged enough to sunder galaxies. Though you refuse to answer any question about its actual strength or range those claims make it clear that it MUST be more powerful than gravity per unit of mass even if the mass is mostly hydrogen atoms as we can see makes up most the mass in the in the Universe, based on your denial of Dark Matter that is.

It really doesn't require a great deal of effort to notice that there is a severe problem with that set of claims. They make galaxies, stars, even neutron stars, planets and pretty much everything held together by gravity impossible.>>

Please explain this contradiction of reality that is an inevitable conclusion based on your own claims for Neutron Repulsion.

Ethelred