Cyprus, Nicosia

Scientists have discovered a connection between Cyprus and Mercury

24.04.2024 / 09:47

Volcanic rocks found in Cyprus have the same composition as surface rocks on Mercury. Scientists believe that this discovery will help find answers about the origin of the smallest planet in the solar system.

According to the published study, Cyprus, formed over 90 million years ago under the Tethys Ocean, contains boninite rocks, the composition of which completely matches samples taken from Mercury. Geologists emphasize that the compositions of the samples are identical, not just similar.

As reported by the BBC, scientists believe that Mercury, which is the smallest and closest planet to the Sun, may have been much larger in the past, similar in size to Earth. It is also noted that Mercury is also called the "planet of extremes": a year there lasts only 88 days, and the surface temperature of the planet during the day can fluctuate from 400 to -170 degrees Celsius.

For these and many other reasons (including its proximity to the Sun), Mercury has been studied much less than other planets.

  • Fieldwork conducted in Cyprus by planetary geologist Nicola Mari, specializing in the processes of formation and evolution of the planets of the Solar System at the University of Pavia in Italy, aims to find Earth samples that will help understand the conditions of Mercury, - note the authors of the study.

Boninites discovered by Nicola Mari in Cyprus as part of her research have the same composition as surface rocks on Mercury, except for oxidation under the influence of Earth's atmosphere, which is considered a major step forward for researchers.

  • Mercury, which we see today, may be nothing more than the core of a planet that once existed, - noted Nicola Mari herself.

According to the geologist, further study of Cypriot boninites, which consist of lava erupted from one of the points of the Earth's crust, will also make a significant contribution to scientists' understanding of Mercury's geological activity.

It is believed that studying geological processes in rocks formed on Earth and similar to structures found on other planets may provide the basis for theories about the formation of extraterrestrial twins.

  • Research conducted in Cyprus is also of great importance for the BepiColombo mission, launched in cooperation with the European Space Agency and Japan, which is expected to arrive at the planet in 2025 and conduct detailed measurements of Mercury's mineral composition and internal structure, - said BepiColombo scientist Johannes Benkhoff.
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