The Tolstoj basin is located in Mercury’s southern hemisphere, and is 355 km (220 miles) in diameter. This oblique image shows an elongate pit inside Tolstoj, a basin whose floor appears to have been flooded by lavas. The pit lacks the raised rim of an impact crater, and may have formed when magma withdrew from a shallow chamber, causing an unsupported area of the surface to collapse. The low-angle lighting in this image hides the floor of the pit, making it appear much deeper than it actually is. The pit is aligned approximately north-south.
Date acquired: January 11, 2012
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington