Topography derived from Mariner 10 stereo images is used to characterize the interior structure of two mercurian basins, Beethoven and Tolstoj. Beethoven and Tolstoj basins are shallow (∼2.5 km and ∼2 km deep, respectively) and relatively flat-floored. Beethoven basin has an interior topographic rise near the northwest margin. The topography of Beethoven and Tolstoj basins is similar to that of lunar mare-filled basins. Well-developed basin-concentric wrinkle ridges and arcuate graben associated with lunar mascons are absent in both Beethoven and Tolstoj basins. The lack of mascon tectonic features suggests that either 1) the mercurian basins have a relatively thin veneer of fill material, 2) Mercury's elastic lithosphere was too strong for significant lithospheric flexure and subsidence to occur, or 3) the basin fill material has little or no density contrast with the surrounding crust and thus exerts little net load on the mercurian lithosphere.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)