The missing large impact craters on Ceres

Nature Communications
By: , and 



Asteroids provide fundamental clues to the formation and evolution of planetesimals. Collisional models based on the depletion of the primordial main belt of asteroids predict 10–15 craters >400km should have formed on Ceres, the largest object between Mars and Jupiter, over the last 4.55Gyr. Likewise, an extrapolation from the asteroid Vesta would require at least 6–7 such basins. However, Ceres’ surface appears devoid of impact craters >~280km. Here, we show a significant depletion of cerean craters down to 100–150km in diameter. The overall scarcity of recognizable large craters is incompatible with collisional models, even in the case of a late implantation of Ceres in the main belt, a possibility raised by the presence of ammoniated phyllosilicates. Our results indicate that a significant population of large craters has been obliterated, implying that long-wavelength topography viscously relaxed or that Ceres experienced protracted widespread resurfacing.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The missing large impact craters on Ceres
Series title Nature Communications
DOI 10.1038/ncomms12257
Volume 7
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Publisher location London
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
First page Article #12257
Other Geospatial Ceres
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details