HomePOPULARStunning Discovery: Mercury Once as Large as Earth, Reveals Study

Stunning Discovery: Mercury Once as Large as Earth, Reveals Study

Nicola Mari, a planetary geologist from the University of Pavia in Italy, recently made a groundbreaking discovery during a visit to Cyprus – a finding that could reshape our understanding of Mercury’s origins. While exploring Cyprus for clues about the composition of Mercury, Mari stumbled upon rocks known as “boninite,” believed to closely resemble Mercury’s surface materials. What he found was astonishing: the rocks from Cyprus bore an uncanny resemblance to those found on Mercury, suggesting that Mercury was once as large as Earth.

Cyprus, with its geological history dating back over 90 million years, provided the perfect backdrop for Mari’s discovery. Formed under the Tethys Ocean, the island’s ancient rocks offer insights into past geological processes. Mari was particularly intrigued by the similarities between boninites and Mercury’s surface composition. Despite being oxidized due to Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere, the rocks from Cyprus mirrored the elemental mix seen on Mercury, including magnesium, aluminum, and iron.

This revelation opens up new avenues for understanding Mercury’s geological evolution. With only two space missions, Mariner 10 and Messenger, having closely studied Mercury, our knowledge of the planet remains limited. However, discoveries like Mari’s offer tantalizing glimpses into Mercury’s past. The unexpected size of Mercury’s core and its thin crust, coupled with its high thorium concentration, have long puzzled scientists.

The prevailing theory suggests that Mercury formed near Mars and was once much larger, akin to Earth in size. However, a collision with another planetary body likely altered its trajectory, sending it hurtling towards the Sun and assuming its current structure.

As scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of Mercury, Mari’s discovery underscores the importance of terrestrial clues in deciphering the secrets of our celestial neighbors. With further study, these rocks from Cyprus may hold the key to unlocking Mercury’s enigmatic past and shedding light on its unique geological history.

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