Gravity and tectonic patterns of Mercury

Effect of tidal deformation, spin-orbit resonance, nonzero eccentricity, despinning, and reorientation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We consider the effect of spin-orbit resonance, nonzero eccentricity, despinning, and reorientation on Mercury's gravity and tectonic pattern. Large variations of the gravity and shape coefficients from the synchronous rotation and zero eccentricity values, J2/C22 = 10/3 and (b - c)/(a - c) = 1/4, arise because of nonsynchronous rotation and nonzero eccentricity even in the absence of reorientation or despinning. Reorientation or despinning induces additional variations. The large gravity coefficients J2 = (6 ± 2) × 10-5 and C22 = (1 ± 0.5) × 10-5 estimated from the Mariner 10 flybys cannot be attributed to Caloris alone since the required mass excess in this case would have caused Caloris to migrate to one of Mercury's hot poles. Similarly, a large remnant bulge due to a smaller semimajor axis and spin-orbit resonance can be dismissed since the required semimajor axis is unphysically small (<0.1 AU). Reorientation of a large remnant bulge recording an epoch of faster rotation (without significant semimajor axis variations) can explain the large gravity coefficients. This requires initial rotation rates ≥20 times the present value and a positive gravity anomaly associated with Caloris capable of driving ∼10°-45° equatorward reorientation. The required gravity anomaly can be explained by infilling of the basin with material of thicknesses ≥7 km or an annulus of volcanic plains emplaced around the basin with an annulus width ∼1200 km and fill thicknesses ≥2 km. The predicted tectonic pattern due to these despinning and reorientation scenarios, including some radial contraction, is in good agreement with the lobate scarp pattern observed by Mariner 10. We also predict that lobate scarps will follow a NE-SW orientation in the eastern hemisphere and a positive gravity anomaly (of a few hundred mGal) associated with Caloris.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE01010
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume114
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 20 2009
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

spin reduction
Tectonics
Mercury
eccentricity
retraining
tectonics
Gravitation
Orbits
gravity anomaly
gravity
gravitation
orbits
gravity anomalies
annuli
Eastern Hemisphere
coefficients
basin
contraction
escarpments
fill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

@article{7d9b7d343b2f4d4eb5933c46b299b915,
title = "Gravity and tectonic patterns of Mercury: Effect of tidal deformation, spin-orbit resonance, nonzero eccentricity, despinning, and reorientation",
abstract = "We consider the effect of spin-orbit resonance, nonzero eccentricity, despinning, and reorientation on Mercury's gravity and tectonic pattern. Large variations of the gravity and shape coefficients from the synchronous rotation and zero eccentricity values, J2/C22 = 10/3 and (b - c)/(a - c) = 1/4, arise because of nonsynchronous rotation and nonzero eccentricity even in the absence of reorientation or despinning. Reorientation or despinning induces additional variations. The large gravity coefficients J2 = (6 ± 2) × 10-5 and C22 = (1 ± 0.5) × 10-5 estimated from the Mariner 10 flybys cannot be attributed to Caloris alone since the required mass excess in this case would have caused Caloris to migrate to one of Mercury's hot poles. Similarly, a large remnant bulge due to a smaller semimajor axis and spin-orbit resonance can be dismissed since the required semimajor axis is unphysically small (<0.1 AU). Reorientation of a large remnant bulge recording an epoch of faster rotation (without significant semimajor axis variations) can explain the large gravity coefficients. This requires initial rotation rates ≥20 times the present value and a positive gravity anomaly associated with Caloris capable of driving ∼10°-45° equatorward reorientation. The required gravity anomaly can be explained by infilling of the basin with material of thicknesses ≥7 km or an annulus of volcanic plains emplaced around the basin with an annulus width ∼1200 km and fill thicknesses ≥2 km. The predicted tectonic pattern due to these despinning and reorientation scenarios, including some radial contraction, is in good agreement with the lobate scarp pattern observed by Mariner 10. We also predict that lobate scarps will follow a NE-SW orientation in the eastern hemisphere and a positive gravity anomaly (of a few hundred mGal) associated with Caloris.",
author = "Matsuyama, {Isamu M} and F. Nimmo",
year = "2009",
month = "1",
day = "20",
doi = "10.1029/2008JE003252",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "114",
journal = "Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics",
issn = "2169-9380",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Gravity and tectonic patterns of Mercury

T2 - Effect of tidal deformation, spin-orbit resonance, nonzero eccentricity, despinning, and reorientation

AU - Matsuyama, Isamu M

AU - Nimmo, F.

PY - 2009/1/20

Y1 - 2009/1/20

N2 - We consider the effect of spin-orbit resonance, nonzero eccentricity, despinning, and reorientation on Mercury's gravity and tectonic pattern. Large variations of the gravity and shape coefficients from the synchronous rotation and zero eccentricity values, J2/C22 = 10/3 and (b - c)/(a - c) = 1/4, arise because of nonsynchronous rotation and nonzero eccentricity even in the absence of reorientation or despinning. Reorientation or despinning induces additional variations. The large gravity coefficients J2 = (6 ± 2) × 10-5 and C22 = (1 ± 0.5) × 10-5 estimated from the Mariner 10 flybys cannot be attributed to Caloris alone since the required mass excess in this case would have caused Caloris to migrate to one of Mercury's hot poles. Similarly, a large remnant bulge due to a smaller semimajor axis and spin-orbit resonance can be dismissed since the required semimajor axis is unphysically small (<0.1 AU). Reorientation of a large remnant bulge recording an epoch of faster rotation (without significant semimajor axis variations) can explain the large gravity coefficients. This requires initial rotation rates ≥20 times the present value and a positive gravity anomaly associated with Caloris capable of driving ∼10°-45° equatorward reorientation. The required gravity anomaly can be explained by infilling of the basin with material of thicknesses ≥7 km or an annulus of volcanic plains emplaced around the basin with an annulus width ∼1200 km and fill thicknesses ≥2 km. The predicted tectonic pattern due to these despinning and reorientation scenarios, including some radial contraction, is in good agreement with the lobate scarp pattern observed by Mariner 10. We also predict that lobate scarps will follow a NE-SW orientation in the eastern hemisphere and a positive gravity anomaly (of a few hundred mGal) associated with Caloris.

AB - We consider the effect of spin-orbit resonance, nonzero eccentricity, despinning, and reorientation on Mercury's gravity and tectonic pattern. Large variations of the gravity and shape coefficients from the synchronous rotation and zero eccentricity values, J2/C22 = 10/3 and (b - c)/(a - c) = 1/4, arise because of nonsynchronous rotation and nonzero eccentricity even in the absence of reorientation or despinning. Reorientation or despinning induces additional variations. The large gravity coefficients J2 = (6 ± 2) × 10-5 and C22 = (1 ± 0.5) × 10-5 estimated from the Mariner 10 flybys cannot be attributed to Caloris alone since the required mass excess in this case would have caused Caloris to migrate to one of Mercury's hot poles. Similarly, a large remnant bulge due to a smaller semimajor axis and spin-orbit resonance can be dismissed since the required semimajor axis is unphysically small (<0.1 AU). Reorientation of a large remnant bulge recording an epoch of faster rotation (without significant semimajor axis variations) can explain the large gravity coefficients. This requires initial rotation rates ≥20 times the present value and a positive gravity anomaly associated with Caloris capable of driving ∼10°-45° equatorward reorientation. The required gravity anomaly can be explained by infilling of the basin with material of thicknesses ≥7 km or an annulus of volcanic plains emplaced around the basin with an annulus width ∼1200 km and fill thicknesses ≥2 km. The predicted tectonic pattern due to these despinning and reorientation scenarios, including some radial contraction, is in good agreement with the lobate scarp pattern observed by Mariner 10. We also predict that lobate scarps will follow a NE-SW orientation in the eastern hemisphere and a positive gravity anomaly (of a few hundred mGal) associated with Caloris.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=64949096180&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=64949096180&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1029/2008JE003252

DO - 10.1029/2008JE003252

M3 - Article

VL - 114

JO - Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

JF - Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

SN - 2169-9380

IS - 1

M1 - E01010

ER -