Washington: Major volcanic activity on Mercury planet most likely ended about 3.5 billion years ago, according to a new study which shed light into its geological evolution.
There are two types of volcanic activity: effusive and explosive. Explosive volcanism is often a violent event that results in large ash and debris eruptions, such as the Mount Saint Helens eruption in 1980, researchers from North Carolina State (NC State) University in the US said.
Effusive volcanism refers to widespread lava flows that slowly pour out over the landscape - believed to be a key process by which planets form their crusts, they said. Determining the ages of effusive volcanic deposits can give researchers a handle on a planet's geological history. For example, effusive volcanism was active a few hundred million years ago on Venus, a few million years ago on Mars, and it still takes place on Earth today, researchers said.
Until now, the duration of effusive volcanic activity on Mercury, made of the same materials as the other planets,had not been known, they said.