The Torching of Tiny Mercury's Crust
Four Mysteries About The Past of "Hell's Kitchen"
We have discussed the arrival of several bunches or groups of bodies into the "inner solar system." One group was the Neptune-Uranus package including their satellites and dark rings systems. A second group was the Jupiter-Saturn package with their satellites and ring systems also. The third package included the Earth-Venus group with their ancient group of satellites, the Moon, Mars and Mercury.
Evidently, Little Brother penetrated into the inner solar system at least as far as Venus (67,000,000 miles). But how much closer to the Sun did it go. We now broach a spread of five questions, mysteries it would seem, about the history of "Hell's Kitchen," the innermost part of the solar system.
Why are there no volcanic cones for lava extrusion? And a related question, why do the walls of Mercury's giant craters display a partially melted down condition?
The Sun warms the equatorial surface of Mercury to 700° or 800° F., but that temperature is insufficient, far insufficient to melt crustal materials. Temperatures of 2,900° F. and 3,000° F. are required to melt silica, alumina and ores of iron.
Mercury is at a distance of 28,600,000 miles from the Sun at its perihelion. Did Little Brother penetrate into the inner solar system as deeply as Mercury's orbit? If so, how close evidently did this "Delivery System," this "United Parcel Service of the Cosmos" come to the Sun?
MYSTERY # 2. Has the Sun's diameter always been the same diameter (865,317 miles) as it is in this present decade, the 1990's as we have been taught to suppose? Do 150 years of astronomical observations confirm the constancy of the Sun's diameter?
Or is its diameter shrinking? If it is shrinking, WHY?
l50 years of observations and measurements at the Greenwich Observatory, London, indicate that the Sun's diameter has been shrinking steadily at a rate of 8.3 miles per year. Why is it shrinking? For how long has its diameter been shrinking?
The Sun rotates at a rate of 26.8 days at its equator. Did the Sun acquire its spin in the same way that the Jupiter-Saturn pair did, and like the Uranus-Neptune pair, and the Earth-Mars pair? Or, as is maintained in gradualist dogma (and in ex nihilo dogma,) is the Sun's rotation a just a "primordial given"?
MYSTERY # 3. The Sun's photosphere indeed rotates at a rate of once in 26.8 days at its equator. But it is variable. Its rotation rate at the 30th latitude is 28.2 days. Its rotation rate at the 60th latitude is 30.8 days. And at the 75th latitude its rate is 31.8 days. What could cause such a variable rate of rotation as this except a massive, external torque?
MYSTERY # 4. Did the Sun acquire its spin by magic, or by chance or coincidence, or was it by process? If it was by process, how big was the torque? On what plane? How recent was that torque? Was there just one or was there a series of similar torqueís?
It is into this milieu of messy questions that the torching of tiny Mercury's crust is to be observed and analyzed.
As a planet, Mercury was observed in very ancient times, even in pre-flood sources. Nebuchadnezzar was named after the swift Mercury, ("Nebo" in Chaldean), some 2600 years ago. In 1881, using new refracting telescopes, Schiaparelli observed Mercury and sketched its surface. He portrayed it with streaks, but his map was of dubious accuracy. A more accepted portrait of the surface of Mercury was compiled by Antoniadi, a Greek astronomer, in the 1920's.
In February and March of l974, Mariner 10 made three flybys of Mercury and transmitted photographs of its sunward surface to the Earth. There has been over a dozen planetary missions to Venus. There has been much more interest in Venus for planning space missions than Mercury for several reasons.
Recent astronomical evidence indicates that Mercury is rock solid, and has no fluid magma interior. If this is correct, its subcrustal region is still cold, which suggests a recent delivery, or a recent capture.
Were Mercury to have come in from the region in space over 1,000 a.u. distant, there its surface temperature would have been close to absolute zero, which is - 459° F. A low interior temperature should be an indication of temperatures at its region of origin, and perhaps recent arrival as astronomers measure time.
Like Venus, Mercury has a very slow spin rate. It rotates once in 58.65 days and it revolves in 87.97 days. On Mercury, one rotation equals two-thirds of a year. Its extremely slow rate of rotation today is the reason for our model that it was a non-rotating satellite of Venus, only "yesterday" in astronomical parlance..
There are photographs of much lava outflow on the surface of tiny Mercury. This is particularly interesting if there is no interior fluid basalt, or magma. There is no interior source of lava. Where, then, did the once molten material get its heat?
From where did the lava on Mercury's surface come? On Mars, Earth and Venus, there are volcanoes, which have been slowly built up over the millenniums by producing a long series of occasional lava outflows.
Dark Surfaces and Low Albedos
Volcanic cones are evidence on the Earth of a series of former lava outflows. With all of the cooled black, basaltic lava pools, Mariner 10 photographed precisely zero volcano cones on Mercury's surface, from which lava might have outflowed. Indeed where is the origin of the heat that is needed to liquefy rock into lava? Where is a source that could heat its crustal material over 3,000° F., liquefy it, and maintain that liquefying scorching heat for many weeks, even for a few months?
Both Mercury's solid condition and its lack of volcanic craters indicate the heat to melt Mercury's lava outflows did not come from its interior. There is only one other place left, an external source of heat to warm Mercury's crust to over 3,000° F. produce lava. Perhaps that source was the Sun, some 30,000,000 miles distant.
Mercury's surface reflects only 6% of the sunlight it receives. The Moon reflects 7%. Venus, Earth and Mars reflect 76%, 34% and 16% respectively. Mercury's is the darkest surface of any planet of satellite in our Solar System. In astronomical parlance, "albedo" is the planet's ability to reflect sunlight. The Earth's high albedo, 34%, is due to its oceans and partial cloud cover. Venus' high albedo, 76%, is due to its total cloud cover.
As mentioned above, Mercury's surface is the darkest in the solar system. The reason Mercury's surface is so dark is because of its abundance of "vast volcanic plains" made of ancient pools of lava, once white hot, then red hot and finally black after the basalt cools.
Mercury's density is 5.43. Water is 1.0 in comparison, and the Earth's density is 5.52. The Earth and Mercury are the two densest bodies in the solar system. Therefore, it is probable that the core of Mercury is composed of similar compounds as is the Earth's core.
The relative abundance of elements in the Earth's crustal composition is 50% oxygen, 26% silicon, 7% aluminum, 5% iron, 3% calcium and 9% other elements. Our crust's composition is largely oxides of silicon, aluminum and iron.
We assume that Mercury's crust also is composed largely of oxides of silicon, aluminum and iron.
Contemporary Temperatures on the Surface of Mercury
How hot does the temperature of Mercury's surface get during noontime of its prolonged day? And how deeply do surface temperatures drop during its lengthy night?
The mid-day temperature of 600° K is 1000° to 1100° F. Its nighttime temperature of 90° K is - 297° F. Thus in our modern age, in the middle of its 58-day "day", the Sun will heat the surface of Mercury to about 40% of the temperature needed for melting.
Silica (silicon dioxide) has a melting point of 3000° F. Iron oxides melts at about 2900° F. Bauxite, a combination of aluminum oxide (52), ferric oxide and water melts at 3100°.
This is interesting because their melting points establish that the Sun, RADIATING AT CURRENT LEVELS, could not be the cause of the melting of the crust on Mercury, which turned it into flowing lava. It does not make any difference how many millions or billions of years one wishes were in the picture.
CONCLUSION. Mercury's torching was external, from space, from the Sun. But its torching was not from modern levels of solar radiation. With a close, nearby intrusion by Little Brother, itself 3% to 4% of the Sun's mass, would the Sun's level of radiation remain constant. Not likely.
Shortly we will uncover evidence that "L. B." came at least as close as 15,000,000 miles of the Sun's center, and perhaps closer.
Story # 13
Were the Sun to experience a nova, temperatures in its neighborhood would rise "astronomically". With most novae, that increase of temperature lasts for months. What is a nova?
Whatever torched the surface of tiny Mercury, it too ignited the Sun into a temporary fury, and a close flyby of Little Brother would do just that. The torched surface of Mercury is our first clue that the Sun had a nova, a major flare up for our Solar System, but a nova of moderate size and duration according to Milky Way standards.
At this point in time, we have evidence of meltdown for only one hemisphere of Mercury, that is, in only 180° of its surface. The photos were taken by Mariner 10 during late March, 1974. Half of the planet was in shadows, 180° to 360°, and half of the planet, 0° to 180°, was well lit.
There have been at least 16 space missions to Venus, and just one to little Mercury. This is because NASA and the USSR both felt that shrouded Venus was far more interesting.
And that is true in part.
However, if a full spread of photographs of all of the surface of Mercury were available, it could possibly be determined whether the Sun has experienced just one flyby of "L. B." or several. This is due in part to Mercury's slow rotation rate, and its 88-day long "year".
Both officials of NASA and the USSR have been mediocre in decision-making because both have been oblivious first, to planetary catastrophism, and second, to the evidence that the Sun had a nova. A close flyby by "L. B." of the Sun is merely a special case of planetary catastrophism.
But science and catastrophic studies are also fortunate that officials of NASA decided to send Mariner 10 to Venus (February 1974) and after that to Mercury (March 1974). Without that afterthought, our generation would not have available this superb evidence of a recent nova of the Sun.
But, whether our generation interprets the Mercury photography in the appropriate context or not is an issue. So far the interpretive side of the space mission has failed in official circles. This work is an endeavor to correct that very correctable failure.
When crust materials such as silica are torched briefly at temperatures above 3000° F., melting begins. A brief torching will created a thin, glassy black pool of lava. But this torching was sustained, evidently for several months. Probably peak temperatures exceeded 6,000° F.
One evidence of a sustained torching is the surface area of basins like Caloris Basin, the largest structural feature on the side of Mercury that was photographed. We estimate its area at 550,000 sq. miles. The depth of lava across this basin also needs estimating to gain some concept of the amount of crustal meltdown that must have occurred.
The breadth of the Borealis Planitia, a lava-flooded basin, is over 190 miles. Its depth is unknown. Its area is some 28,400 sq. mi. On such a tiny planet, it has half the area of the state of Illinois, and well over half the area of Louisiana, or Pennsylvania.
If a surface torching is the cause of these lava flows this deep and broad, these immense flows required a surface torching of at least 3,500° F. for months.
We have already suggested a moderate-sized nova of the Sun is the logical conclusion from this evidence. Conservative, moderate novas (novae), smaller than the average in our galaxy, have high luminosityís that are sustained for many months. Larger novae will have high luminosity is extending longer than a year. We are calling attention to evidence of the torching of nearby Mercury by the Sun in a conservative, moderate nova of below average intensity, an intensity sustained only for several months in duration.
There are other kinds of clues also. One involves the surface of Mercury; others involve the Sun. Mercury is a badly battered, heavily cratered sphere. Its craters have walls, many of which are steep. The torching tended to melt down crater walls.
The last mission to Mercury was Mariner 10 in l973, which photographed only the daylight side. If the meltdown on both sides of Mercury is "even" and if the other side of Mercury also has huge lava flows and gigantic, dark, basaltic plains, that will suggest that the torching of Mercury exceeded 58 days. Its spin rate is 58 days. Or else we are seeing the result of a series of torchings.
A careful, detailed examination of the partially melted down crater walls could be particularly interesting. The crater walls are terraced, due to erosion resulting from a torching. Further research and a more complete photography of Mercury may determine whether we are viewing the results of one or of several torchings.
Little Mercury is roughly 30,000,000 miles from the Sun. The Earth, in its first capture orbit, was roughly 92,250,000 miles from the Sun, and had a 360-day year. Radiation, like gravity, follows the principle of the inverse of the distance squared.
This principle means that a body 60 million miles from the Sun receives one-fourth of the radiation compared to a body 30 million miles. Thus, the Earth (at three times Mercury's distance) received about one-ninth as much radiation, square mile for square mile, as did the Eastern Hemisphere of Mercury.
In being warmed, just like carbonated soda pop, the Earth's oceans lost much of its carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This enriching of CO-2 in the atmosphere had something to do with the Earth's ancient greenhouse effect, and the resultant greening of our planet.
The surface of newly-captured Venus was not torched, but it experienced a long enough period of sudden heating to produce a runaway heating - a runaway greenhouse effect. Its surface temperatures today reflect its deep, dense atmosphere, and they hover around 700° F., day and night. At the surface of Venus, barometric pressure is 90 times what it is on the surface of our planet at sea level.
The Earth has had a flood, and in fact many floods. The sources were gigantic tides rising out of our planet's oceans. This will be demonstrated in a later volume of this series. In volume II, The Scars of Mars, evidence will be presented that Mars experienced a flash flood limited to its Eastern Hemisphere.
Now, evidence emerges that Mercury, also, has experienced a flood, but not a flood of water (like Mars and the Earth.) It was a sustained flood of extremely hot, fast-flowing red-hot to white-hot lava which was a result of either one intense, sustained torching or several such torchings of its surface.
What is the dogma of gradualism concerning the torching of Mercury's surface? It is interesting, but hardly informative.
The velocity of the flood of fluid lava on the surface of Mercury, and the torching of its surface are not yet understood in gradualist circles. Their reference to 3,000,000,000 years ago is as pathetic as it is humorous. The above citation is, in reality, a faith statement with its own kind of "religious" aura. So is the citation below a faith statement.
The broad, basaltic plains of the Eastern Hemisphere of Mercury have been the center of our attention. In addition to these flooded regions, black with lava, attention has been focused on the partially melted down crater walls on tiny, torched Mercury.
These are two categories of evidence of a sudden and extreme increase of temperature on the surface of tiny Mercury. A third category of evidence, the lack of any volcanic cones, indicates that the source of the heat that melted the surface of Mercury was external to the tiny planet.
More extensive data, especially space mission photography on Mercury's Western Hemisphere, is urgently desired.
What limited data we have on the physical geography of Mercury's Eastern Hemisphere comes solely from the Mariner l0 mission, March, l973. There have been numerous solar missions. There have been at least 21 Venus missions, between the NASA and the USSR space missions.
But there has been only one mission to Mercury, which photographed but one half of that important planet. It was an afterthought to a Venus mission. NASA officials have underestimated the importance of Mercury in the cosmology of the Solar System. USSR space officials have done even worse. Nevertheless we can be thankful for the information which that one mission provided.
Because of its tiny size, Mercury cannot retain atmosphere; its "escape velocity" is too low, just like the Moon's. This feature makes for good photography from space, unlike the dense cloud cover of Venus. Many of the Mariner 10 photos were taken at a distance of 125,000 miles, with excellent results.
Data exists suggesting planetary catastrophism in the twin spins of Neptune and Uranus. More data of catastrophism exists on the surfaces of the Uranian satellites, and the dark ring systems of the two planets.
Additional data suggesting planetary catastrophism exists in the twin spins of Jupiter and Saturn, plus their ring systems, a coal black ring of Jupiter and a splendid icy one of Saturn.
Data suggesting planetary catastrophism involving Mars, Venus and the Earth is the general theme for our two next volumes, The Scars of Mars and The Mars-Earth Catastrophes.
Now data is forthcoming from the crust of tiny Mercury indicating that the Sun had a nova. The data indicates the super-planet Little Brother passed sufficiently close to the Sun to cause such a sudden, intense flare up. This is evidence of planetary catastrophism also, catastrophism which extends to the very heart of the Solar System, to the Sun itself.
The Sun's capture of Mercury left it with an orbit with a perihelion of 28,600,000 miles and an aphelion of 45,300,000 miles. Its orbit eccentricity is a whopping .206. This is one indication that the Delivery System, the United Parcel System of the Cosmos, the super-planet, Little Brother, approached the Sun to within 35,000,000 miles, the outside parameter. L. B. sped at well over 100,000 mph into "Hell's Kitchen."
But how far and deep into Hell's Kitchen did L. B. penetrate? It penetrated close enough to trigger a nova!
We shall ask this question again in the next two chapters, endeavoring to see what clues, if any, that the photosphere of the Sun might have to add to our knowledge of how close, and how recently. Chapter 10 on the torching of tiny Mercury's crust merely opens up the issue of a nova of the Sun, for further investigation.
Hells' Kitchen, within 50,000,000 miles of the Sun, is a region devoid of asteroids, except one, Icarus. The extreme density and size of craters on Mercury belie the theory that, in Mercury's present orbit, asteroids caused its countless craters. Mercury acquired its craters in some region where rich volumes of miscellaneous debris in space also occur.
The torching of the crust of Mercury began at temperatures over 3,000° F., and assuming there was a temperature profile, those temperatures must have peaked much higher and were sustained for months. The vast volume of temperatures perhaps peaked at more than 6,000° F. and a peaking of temperatures over 10,000° F. is an entirely possible heat profile.
Space mission photography of the Western Hemisphere of Mercury will add to our cosmology, to our understanding of how sustained those torching temperatures were. A more detailed study of the terraced meltdown of the crater walls in Mercury's Eastern Hemisphere will add further to our knowledge of how hot temperatures must have become. PREVIEW; Typical of good mystery stories, the "hottest" clues are reserved for last, as the climax of the case approaches. In the case of the recent organization of the Solar System, the hottest clues are those indicating a recent nova of the Sun. Mercury's torched crust provides the first set of clues, but not the last of the clues or even the bulk of the clues. Read on.
Hint. Yesterday, the Sun's diameter shrank by 120 feet, as it has every day this year and this decade. The diameter of the Sun shrunk a full 8.3 miles during the year 1994, like it did every other year of this century. Is this a clue that the Sun is still cooling off from its most recent nova? Do novas take tens of thousands of years to cool down and to achieve a final temperature equilibrium? Such is one of the questions of Chapter 11.
F2 Newman, James R., The Harper Encyclopedia of Science. 1967, New York, Harper & Row, p. 834.
F3 Moore, Patrick and Garry Hunt, Atlas of the Solar System. 1983, Chicago, Rand McNally, p. 92.
F4 Op. cit., p. 84.
F5 Op. cit., p. 79.
The Recent Organization of The Solar System by
Patten & Windsor