Ferrous oxide in Mercury's crust and mantle

M. S. Robinson, G. J. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Mercury has widespread plains deposits proposed to be volcanic in origin. In a Mariner 10 color-derived parameter image, sensitive to FeO and maturity, these volcanic plains have a value equivalent to, or slightly elevated above, the hemispheric average, thus implying FeO equivalent to, or slightly less than, the hemispheric average (∼3 wt% FeO). Since FeO has a solid/liquid distribution coefficient ∼1 during partial melting, we estimate the mantle of Mercury to have an FeO abundance equal to the lava flows. This is consistent with models that predict Mercury was assembled from planetesimals formed near the planet's current position. This new estimate of Mercury's bulk FeO (∼3 wt%) is consistent with data for the other terrestrial planets that suggest there was a radial gradient in FeO in the solar nebula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-847
Number of pages7
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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