As reported in the July 4, 2008 issue of Science magazine, volcanoes have been discovered on Mercury's surface from images acquired during MESSENGER's first Mercury flyby. This image shows the largest feature identified as a volcano in the upper center of the scene. The volcano has a central kidney-shaped depression, which is the vent, and a broad smooth dome surrounding the vent. The volcano is located just inside the rim of the Caloris impact basin. The rim of the basin is marked with hills and mountains, as visible in this image. The role of volcanism in Mercury's history had been previously debated, but MESSENGER's discovery of the first identified volcanoes on Mercury's surface shows that volcanism was active in the distant past on the innermost planet.
Date Acquired: January 14, 2008