Shrinking planet A great valley in mercury

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Unlike Earth's Great Rift Valley, Mercury's great valley is not caused by the pulling apart of lithospheric plates due to plate tectonics; it is the result of the global contraction of a shrinking one-plate planet.About 400 kilometres wide and three kilometres deep, Mercury’s great valley is smaller than Mars’ Valles Marineris, but larger than North America’s Grand Canyon.

Scientists used images from NASA’s Messenger spacecraft to create a high-resolution topographic map that revealed the broad valley — more than 1,000 kilometres long — extending into the Rembrandt basin, one of the largest and youngest impact basins on Mercury