Cratering on ceres: Implications for its crust and evolution

H. Hiesinger, S. Marchi, N. Schmedemann, P. Schenk, J. H. Pasckert, A. Neesemann, D. P. O'Brien, T. Kneissl, A. I. Ermakov, R. R. Fu, M. T. Bland, A. Nathues, T. Platz, David Williams, R. Jaumann, J. C. Castillo-Rogez, O. Ruesch, B. Schmidt, R. S. Park, F. PreuskerD. L. Buczkowski, C. T. Russell, C. A. Raymond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Thermochemical models have predicted that Ceres, is to some extent, differentiated and should have an icy crust with few or no impact craters. We present observations by the Dawn spacecraft that reveal a heavily cratered surface, a heterogeneous crater distribution, and an apparent absence of large craters. The morphology of some impact craters is consistent with ice in the subsurface, which might have favored relaxation, yet large unrelaxed craters are also present. Numerous craters exhibit polygonal shapes, terraces, flowlike features, slumping, smooth deposits, and bright spots. Crater morphology and simple-to-complex crater transition diameters indicate that the crust of Ceres is neither purely icy nor rocky. By dating a smooth region associated with the Kerwan crater, we determined absolute model ages (AMAs) of 550 million and 720 million years, depending on the applied chronology model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberaaf4759
Issue number6303
StatePublished - Sep 2 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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