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How thick are Mercury's polar water ice deposits?

Eke, Vincent R. and Lawrence, David J. and Teodoro, Luis F. A. (2017) 'How thick are Mercury's polar water ice deposits?', Icarus., 284 . pp. 407-415.

Abstract

An estimate is made of the thickness of the radar-bright deposits in craters near to Mercury’s north pole. To construct an objective set of craters for this measurement, an automated crater finding algorithm is developed and applied to a digital elevation model based on data from the Mercury Laser Altimeter onboard the MESSENGER spacecraft. This produces a catalogue of 663 craters with diameters exceeding 4 km, northwards of latitude +55∘. A subset of 12 larger, well-sampled and fresh polar craters are selected to search for correlations between topography and radar same-sense backscatter cross-section. It is found that the typical excess height associated with the radar-bright regions within these fresh polar craters is (50 ± 35) m. This puts an approximate upper limit on the total polar water ice deposits on Mercury of ∼ 3 × 1015 kg.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2016.12.001
Publisher statement:© 2016 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Date accepted:01 December 2016
Date deposited:19 December 2016
Date of first online publication:05 December 2016
Date first made open access:05 December 2017

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