Discovery Rupes

Discovery Rupes

. Mercury's surface is distinguished from the Moon and from the other terrestrial planets by having enormous cliffs, or scarps, that cut across its surface. The dark scarp cutting vertically across the center of this image, taken from Mariner 10, is about 350 thousand meters long. The cliff transects two craters 35 thousand and 55 thousand meters in diameter, proving that it was created after these craters formed. These long cliffs, which are as much as 4 thousand meters high, were probably crated when the planet cooled and contracted. (Courtesy of JPL and NASA.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University