The ratio for a planet to be tidally locked has to be 1:1, but the ratio for Mercury is 3:2. How is Mercury tidally locked if the ratio is not 1:1?
The simple answer to your question is that Mercury is not tidally locked. You may have seen old books (before 1965) that said it was tidally locked, because it was once assumed to be so. Alternatively, as zephyr said, your source may have been referring to the 3:2 resonance, but that is also not really the same thing.
The reason that Mercury is not locked into a 1:1 spin orbit resonance is its eccentric orbit. In fact, the 3:2 resonance is the result of weak tides in conjunction with the orbital eccentricity. This is in fact mentioned on the Wikipedia page.
It's not tidally locked like the moon is because it is in a 3:2 resonance with the sun. It rotates three times for every two orbits it makes. So it isn't considered a tidal lock because it means they usually need to be in a 1:1 resonance. I think you were referring to Wikipedia, where it said Mercury was in a tidal lock with the sun. A 3:2 resonance would not be considered regular tidal locking, but elliptical tidal locking. Elliptical tidal locking means when a body is in a stable resonance that is not 1:1, so Mercury wouldn't be the best example of a tidal lock, but it would be a good example of elliptical tidal locking.
Not every case of tidal locking involves synchronous rotation. With Mercury, for example, this tidally locked planet completes three rotations for every two revolutions around the Sun, a 3:2 spin–orbit resonance.
- Heller, R.; Leconte, J.; Barnes, R. (April 2011). "Tidal obliquity evolution of potentially habitable planets". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 528: 16.
Mercury is not tidally locked to the Sun. It’s likely that the original source stating Mercury is tidally locked is an old source. It’s possible to find publications printed prior to about 1965 that state Mercury is tidally locked, but this was a conclusion based largely on an assumption made by scientists who were going on very little evidence. As our knowledge increases our science changes.
$\begingroup$ Sources please? $\endgroup$ Apr 23, 2022 at 3:07
3$\begingroup$ This answer is almost identical to an existing one. For the record, it is not my downvote,; I believe this is the correct answer to the question, since the nature of Mercury's spin and 3:2 resonance did only become apparent in 1965. nature.com/articles/208575a0 $\endgroup$– ProfRobApr 23, 2022 at 8:25
may end up in a so-called spin-orbit resonance, rather than being tidally locked [...] A well known case is the rotation of Mercury, which is locked to its own orbit around the Sun in a 3:2 resonance.They indicate these higher-order spin-orbit resonances (i.e., higher than 1:1) are separate from being tidally locked. $\endgroup$