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Cryovolcanic rates on Ceres revealed by topography

Sori, Michael M. and Sizemore, Hanna G. and Byrne, Shane and Bramson, Ali M. and Bland, Michael T. and Stein, Nathaniel T. and Russell, Christopher T. (2018) Cryovolcanic rates on Ceres revealed by topography. Nature Astronomy, 2 (12). pp. 946-950. ISSN 2397-3366. doi:10.1038/s41550-018-0574-1.

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Cryovolcanism, defined here as the extrusion of icy material from depth, may be an important planetary phenomenon in shaping the surfaces of many worlds in the outer Solar System and revealing their thermal histories. However, the physics, chemistry and ubiquity of this geologic process remain poorly understood, especially in comparison to the better-studied silicate volcanism on the terrestrial planets. Ceres is the only plausibly cryovolcanic world to be orbited by a spacecraft up to now, making it the best opportunity to test the importance of cryovolcanism on bodies in the outer Solar System and compare its effects to silicate volcanism on terrestrial planets. Here, we analyse images from NASA’s Dawn mission and use the finite element method to show that Ceres has experienced cryovolcanism throughout its geologic history, with an average cryomagma extrusion rate of ~10^4 m^3 yr^(−1). This result shows that volcanic phenomena are important on Ceres, but orders of magnitude less so than on the terrestrial planets.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Sori, Michael M.0000-0002-6191-2447
Sizemore, Hanna G.0000-0002-6641-2388
Bramson, Ali M.0000-0003-4903-0916
Stein, Nathaniel T.0000-0003-3385-9957
Russell, Christopher T.0000-0003-1639-8298
Additional Information:© 2018 Springer Nature Publishing. Received: 10 April 2018; Accepted: 13 August 2018; Published online: 17 September 2018. M.M.S., S.B., H.G.S. and M.T.B. acknowledge support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Dawn Guest Investigator Program. Any use of trade, firm or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government. Author Contributions: M.M.S. formulated the project, performed all viscous flow model runs and led writing of this paper. M.M.S. and H.G.S. identified and analysed the domes suitable for this study. A.M.B. performed the thermal model runs. All authors contributed substantially to the interpretation of results and writing of this paper. Data availability: The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. The data come from NASA’s Dawn mission and are also publically available in the NASA Planetary Data System ( The authors declare no competing interests.
Errata:Change history 18 October 2018In the version of this Letter originally published, the unit in the right y axis label in Fig. 3 mistakenly read ‘(m yr^(–1))’; it has now been corrected to read ‘(m Myr^(–1))’.
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Issue or Number:12
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181220-092840619
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:91926
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:20 Dec 2018 18:40
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 03:45

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