Berkel latitude: -13.73°N; longitude: 26.92°E
Scale: Berkel crater is 22 km (14 miles) in diameter

Derain latitude: -8.96°N; longitude: 19.82°E
Derain (167 km/104 mi) is surrounded by some of the darkest material identified on Mercury.

Center latitude: 42°N; longitude: 154°E
This enhanced color mosaic shows (from left to right) Munch (61 km/38 mi), Sander (52 km/32 mi), and Poe (81 km/50 mi) craters.

When an object such as a meteoroid crashes into the surface of a planet at a high rate of speed it can cause an explosion. Such impacts excavate subsurface material, thereby forming a crater, and deposit the excavated debris around the crater. On Mercury, some craters are uncommonly dark and appear to have exposed a unit with a mineralogical composition that is different from the surrounding terrain. This low-reflectance material (LRM) appears blue in the enhanced-color image on the far right. Here the craters have excavated LRM from beneath the smooth volcanic plains (orange in this image). Analysis of these craters allows us to peer beneath the surface lavas, giving a glimpse of the original Caloris basin floor material and providing a way to judge the thickness of the volcanic plains (over 2 km here!).

Learn more about craters with dark material on Mercury!