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Extensive water ice within Ceres’ aqueously altered regolith: Evidence from nuclear spectroscopy

Prettyman, T. H. and Yamashita, N. and Toplis, M. J. and McSween, H. Y. and Schörghofer, N. and Marchi, S. and Feldman, W. C. and Castillo-Rogez, J. and Forni, O. and Lawrence, D. J. and Ammannito, E. and Ehlmann, B. L. and Sizemore, H. G. and Joy, S. P. and Polanskey, C. A. and Rayman, M. D. and Raymond, C. A. and Russell, C. T. (2017) Extensive water ice within Ceres’ aqueously altered regolith: Evidence from nuclear spectroscopy. Science, 355 (6320). pp. 55-59. ISSN 0036-8075.

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The surface elemental composition of dwarf planet Ceres constrains its regolith ice content, aqueous alteration processes, and interior evolution. Using nuclear spectroscopy data acquired by NASA’s Dawn mission, we determined the concentrations of H, Fe, and K on Ceres. The data show that surface materials were processed by the action of water within the interior. The non-icy portion of Ceres’ C-bearing regolith contains similar amounts of H to aqueously altered carbonaceous chondrites, but less Fe. This allows for the possibility that Ceres experienced modest ice-rock fractionation, resulting in differences between surface and bulk composition. At mid-to-high latitudes, the regolith contains high concentrations of H, consistent with broad expanses of water ice, confirming theoretical predictions that ice can survive for billions of years just beneath the surface.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Material Planetary Data System
Forni, O.0000-0001-6772-9689
Ehlmann, B. L.0000-0002-2745-3240
Sizemore, H. G.0000-0002-6641-2388
Russell, C. T.0000-0003-1639-8298
Additional Information:© 2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science. 31 July 2016; accepted 23 November 2016. Published online 15 December 2016. Portions of this work were performed by the Planetary Science Institute under contract with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (JPL); by JPL under contract with NASA; and by the NASA Dawn at Ceres Guest Investigator Program. The Dawn mission is led by the University of California, Los Angeles, and managed by JPL under the auspices of the NASA Discovery Program Office. The Dawn data are archived with the NASA Planetary Data System (
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:6320
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161121-075411945
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Official Citation: Extensive water ice within Ceres’ aqueously altered regolith: Evidence from nuclear spectroscopy By T. H. Prettyman, N. Yamashita, M. J. Toplis, H. Y. McSween, N. Schörghofer, S. Marchi, W. C. Feldman, J. Castillo-Rogez, O. Forni, D. J. Lawrence, E. Ammannito, B. L. Ehlmann, H. G. Sizemore, S. P. Joy, C. A. Polanskey, M. D. Rayman, C. A. Raymond, C. T. Russell Science06 Jan 2017 : 55-59
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:72179
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:16 Dec 2016 21:32
Last Modified:20 Apr 2020 08:47

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