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Astronomers discover deep valley on Mercury formed through Earth-like processes

from ZME Science

The valley is believed to be 250 miles wide, 600 miles long and about 2 miles deep — huge by any standards. Researchers believe it was created due to contraction. As Mercury's interior cooled down, it caused one part of its surface to bend and ultimately break. Astronomers and geologists created a map by analyzing a high-resolution map of Mercury's southern hemisphere, made from images taken by NASA's Messenger spacecraft. The valley is flanked by two large fault scarps, somewhat similar to what the Eastern African rift looks like. But while the rift was formed by tectonic plate movement, this valley was created by completely different forces. more

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