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The missing large impact craters on Ceres

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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 >400 km should have

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 >400 km should have formed on Ceres, the largest object between Mars and Jupiter, over the last 4.55 Gyr. Likewise, an extrapolation from the asteroid Vesta would require at least 6–7 such basins. However, Ceres’ surface appears devoid of impact craters >∼280 km. Here, we show a significant depletion of cerean craters down to 100–150 km 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.

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  • 2016-07-26

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Mass movement on Vesta at steep scarps and crater rims

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The Quadrangles Av-11 and Av-12 on Vesta are located at the northern rim of the giant Rheasilvia south polar impact basin. The primary geologic units in Av-11 and Av-12 include

The Quadrangles Av-11 and Av-12 on Vesta are located at the northern rim of the giant Rheasilvia south polar impact basin. The primary geologic units in Av-11 and Av-12 include material from the Rheasilvia impact basin formation, smooth material and different types of impact crater structures (such as bimodal craters, dark and bright crater ray material and dark ejecta material). Av-11 and Av-12 exhibit almost the full range of mass wasting features observed on Vesta, such as slump blocks, spur-and-gully morphologies and landslides within craters. Processes of collapse, slope instability and seismically triggered events force material to slump down crater walls or scarps and produce landslides or rotational slump blocks. The spur-and-gully morphology that is known to form on Mars is also observed on Vesta; however, on Vesta this morphology formed under dry conditions.

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  • 2014-12-01