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Craters ≥20 km on Mercury from MESSENGER and Mariner 10 data

MESSENGER and Mariner 10 data have been used to construct a new database of large Mercury craters (Fassett et al., 2011).  Note that these data include craters in all degradation states, including craters completely filled by plains.  These are referenced to the controlled mosaic at 500 m/px of Mercury created using data from both missions though additional images beyond this mosaic were used.

The catalog is available as an ArcMap polygon shapefile: MercLargeCraters.zip

Alternatively, the crater database is available as a CSV file which gives crater centers at lon-lat locations: MercLargeCraters.csv

The masks used to exclude regions with poor observation conditions from the density map / analysis are available as shapefiles here; we suggest using the analysis mask for most additional purposes on this pre-orbit data. 

Final Analytical Mask for Crater Statistics (simple mask excluding areas that were imaged only at incidence angle i>50 and emission angle e>75):  AnalysisMask.zip

Final Display Mask (Fig. 1b; excludes additional southern terrain seen under challenging conditions in Mariner 10, and includes some additional area where within a 500 km radius the images are majority acceptable): DisplayMask.zip


We expect that this dataset will be updated on the basis of orbital observations.  Any future versions of this catalog will be posted to this webpage.  This will 1) fill in some remaining gaps where image observation conditions were challenging, or where the surface was unimaged before MESSENGER orbit, 2) improve geolocation of features n the surface of Mercury, and 3) allow recognition of additional features. 

Current uncertainties in the geodetic reference frame / shape of Mercury means crater centers locations could shift by kms.  These data are known to be most ‘complete’ for craters 20-250 km, and are likely missing some degraded basins ≥250 km.


If you have any questions about this data, please contact Caleb_Fassett@brown.edu or James_Head@brown.edu.

Please cite this reference when using this data:

Fassett, C. I., S. J. Kadish, J. W. Head, S. C. Solomon, and R. G. Strom (2011), The global population of large   craters on Mercury and comparison with the Moon, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L10202, doi: 10.1029/2011GL047294.