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The central pit and dome at Cerealia Facula bright deposit and floor deposits in Occator crater, Ceres: Morphology, comparisons and formation

Schenk, P. and Sizemore, H. and Schmidt, B. and Castillo-Rogez, J. and De Sanctis, M. and Bowling, T. and Scully, J. and Buczkowski, D. and Quick, L. and Preusker, Frank and Park, R. and Raymond, C. and Russell, C. (2019) The central pit and dome at Cerealia Facula bright deposit and floor deposits in Occator crater, Ceres: Morphology, comparisons and formation. Icarus, 320, pp. 159-187. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2018.08.010 ISSN 0019-1035

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Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S001910351730862X?via%3Dihub


The prominent bright deposit Cerealia Facula, Ceres, coincides with the central depression (or central pit) of the recently formed 92 km-wide complex crater Occator. The central pit is 9 km wide and up to 1 km deep and is partially filled with a 700 m-high 2 km-wide dome. The upper surface of the central dome is densely fractured but the flanks are not, indicating that uplift of the dome surface occurred after the bright deposit was emplaced, and primarily through uplift of the surface from below by laccolithic intrusion or volume expansion. The pit is rimless except for two prominent massifs that flank it to the east and west. This pit-dome morphology bears a strong resemblance in morphology, topography, and dimensions to central pit craters observed on Ganymede and Callisto, but is essentially absent on the similar sized ice-rich moons of Uranus, Saturn, and Pluto. The lack of pit craters on midsize icy moons and the possible lack of central pit craters at the cold poles of Ceres suggest that temperature is a significant controlling factor in central pit formation, beyond the canonical inverse-gravity scaling of complex crater transitions. While renewed modeling will benefit from these new constraints, the mapping of central pits on Ceres, including Occator, suggests that either the rheologically layered target model or more likely the melted central uplift model may be the most probable explanation for central pit formation on Ceres (lack of similar high-resolution imaging on the Galilean icy satellites precludes definitive evaluation of models there). Large volumes of lobate floor-fill material at least 600 m thick in some places cover large areas of the southern and eastern floor of Occator, and small outcrops of this unit are found perched high on closed topographic depressions on the Occator terrace zone and other higher areas of the crater floor. The swirling and knobby surface textures of these lobate deposits are essentially indistinguishable from those on impact melt sheets on large lunar craters such as Tycho. These observations indicate that this unit is most likely an impact melt sheet formed from melted water ice admixed with unmelted particulate or dissolved phyllosilicates, salts and/or carbonates, and large quantities of fragmented debris. Melt of ice phases within Ceres crust is also supported by independent numerical models of impact at Occator and would provide a ready source of fluids to promote hydrothermal deposition of the observed bright Na-carbonates on the surface of the central pit at Occator, if the deposit formed within a million years or so of impact. The central dome finds analogs in salt domes on Earth and pingos (frost-mounds) on Earth and Mars, which form by water and solute migration and freeze expansion. Later freezing of a central reservoir of volatiles beneath the central pit at Occator or mobilization of ice or other phases during the cooling and refreezing process could explain the uplift of the central dome. Finally, no changes were detected in the Cerealia and Vinalia Facula bright deposits during the course of the prime Dawn mapping mission, placing additional constraints on their formation time and limits on ongoing activity.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/131256/
Document Type:Article
Title:The central pit and dome at Cerealia Facula bright deposit and floor deposits in Occator crater, Ceres: Morphology, comparisons and formation
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Schenk, P.Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, Texas, USAUNSPECIFIED
Sizemore, H.Planetary Science InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Schmidt, B.Georgia Institute of TechnologyUNSPECIFIED
Castillo-Rogez, J.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology,UNSPECIFIED
De Sanctis, M.INAF, Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica, Area di Ricerca di Tor Vergata, Via del Fosso del Cavaliere, 00133 Rome, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Bowling, T.Space Science and Engineering Division, Boulder, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Scully, J.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USAUNSPECIFIED
Quick, L.Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USAUNSPECIFIED
Preusker, Frankfrank.preusker (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Park, R.jet propulsion laboratory,california institute of technology, pasadena, ca, usaUNSPECIFIED
Raymond, C.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of TechnologyUNSPECIFIED
Date:1 March 2019
Journal or Publication Title:Icarus
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1016/j.icarus.2018.08.010
Page Range:pp. 159-187
Keywords:Dawn, Ceres, central pit, crater, Occator
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Projekt DAWN
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geodesy
Deposited By: Scholten, Dipl.-Ing. Frank
Deposited On:28 Nov 2019 09:06
Last Modified:28 Nov 2019 09:06

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