Oxo Crater on (1) Ceres: Geological History and the Role of Water-ice

A. Nathues, T. Platz, M. Hoffmann, G. Thangjam, E. A. Cloutis, D. M. Applin, L. Le Corre, V. Reddy, K. Mengel, S. Protopapa, D. Takir, F. Preusker, B. E. Schmidt, C. T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Dwarf planet Ceres (Ø; ∼ 940 km) is the largest object in the main asteroid belt. Investigations suggest that Ceres is a thermally evolved, volatile-rich body with potential geological activity, a body that was never completely molten, but one that possibly partially differentiated into a rocky core and an ice-rich mantle, and may contain remnant internal liquid water. Thermal alteration and the infall of exogenic material contribute to producing a (dark) carbonaceous chondritic-like surface containing ammoniated phyllosilicates. Here we report imaging and spectroscopic analyses of data on the bright Oxo crater derived from the Framing Camera and the Visible and Infrared Spectrometer on board the Dawn spacecraft. We confirm that the transitional complex crater Oxo (Ø; ∼ 9 km) exhibits exposed surface water-ice. We show that this water-ice-rich material is associated exclusively with two lobate deposits at pole-facing scarps, deposits that also contain carbonates and admixed phyllosilicates. Due to Oxo's location at -4802 m below the cerean reference ellipsoid and its very young age of only 190 ka (1σ: +100 ka, -70 ka), Oxo is predestined for ongoing water-ice sublimation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number84
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume154
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Keywords

  • asteroids: general
  • minor planets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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