Ceres’ Ezinu quadrangle: a heavily cratered region with evidence for localized subsurface water ice and the context of Occator crater

Jennifer E.C. Scully, D. L. Buczkowski, A. Neesemann, David Williams, S. C. Mest, C. A. Raymond, A. Nass, K. H.G. Hughson, T. Kneissl, J. H. Pasckert, O. Ruesch, A. Frigeri, S. Marchi, J. P. Combe, N. Schmedemann, B. E. Schmidt, H. T. Chilton, C. T. Russell, R. Jaumann, F. PreuskerT. Roatsch, M. Hoffmann, A. Nathues, M. Schaefer, A. I. Ermakov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Dawn is the first spacecraft to visit and orbit Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt and the only dwarf planet in the inner Solar System. The Dawn science team undertook a systematic geologic mapping campaign of Ceres’ entire surface. Here we present our contribution to this mapping campaign, a geologic map and geologic history of the Ezinu quadrangle, located in the northern mid latitudes from 21–66° N and 180–270° E. From our map, we reconstruct the geologic history of Ezinu quadrangle, which is dominated by impact cratering. Large impact craters that formed a few hundreds to tens of millions of years ago, such as Datan, Messor, Ninsar and Occator, are surrounded by ejecta and contain the products of mass wasting (hummocky crater floor material and talus material) and crater-wall collapse (terrace material). Two of these large impact craters are the sources of lobate flows, which we interpret as melt flows emplaced after the ballistically deposited ejecta. Morphological evidence suggests these lobate flows are rich in water–ice-bearing material that was excavated during the formation of the impact craters. There are only a few localized occurrences of lobate flows, suggesting that the water–ice-bearing source materials have restricted extents and/or are deeply buried within Ceres’ subsurface. The quadrangle also contains a variety of linear features: secondary crater chains are formed by the impact of locally and globally sourced material and pit chains and grooves are formed by the collapse of surficial materials into sub-surface fractures. The Ezinu quadrangle contains the northern portion of Occator crater, which is the host crater of prominent bright regions called faculae. Our geologic analysis therefore also provides context for the future investigation of Occator and its intriguing faculae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-62
Number of pages17
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Asteroid Ceres
  • Asteroids, surfaces
  • Geological processes
  • Ices
  • Impact processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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