Volume 633, January 2020
|Number of page(s)||27|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||21 January 2020|
Ceres’ partial differentiation: undifferentiated crust mixing with a water-rich mantle
Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center (DLR),
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
2 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91109, USA
3 Earth Planetary and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Accepted: 11 December 2019
Aims. We model thermal evolution and water-rock differentiation of small ice-rock objects that accreted at different heliocentric distances, while also considering migration into the asteroid belt for Ceres. We investigate how water-rock separation and various cooling processes influence Ceres’ structure and its thermal conditions at present. We also draw conclusions about the presence of liquids and the possibility of cryovolcanism.
Methods. We calculated energy balance in bodies heated by radioactive decay and compaction-driven water-rock separation in a three-component dust-water/ice-empty pores mixture, while also taking into consideration second-order processes, such as accretional heating, hydrothermal circulation, and ocean or ice convection. Calculations were performed for varying accretion duration, final size, surface temperature, and dust/ice ratio to survey the range of possible internal states for precursors of Ceres. Subsequently, the evolution of Ceres was considered in five sets of simulated models, covering different accretion and evolution orbits and dust/ice ratios.
Results. We find that Ceres’ precursors in the inner solar system could have been both wet and dry, while in the Kuiper belt, they retain the bulk of their water content. For plausible accretion scenarios, a thick primordial crust may be retained over several Gyr, following a slow differentiation within a few hundreds of Myr, assuming an absence of destabilizing impacts. The resulting thermal conditions at present allow for various salt solutions at depths of ≲10 km. The warmest present subsurface is obtained for an accretion in the Kuiper belt and migration to the present orbit.
Conclusions. Our results indicate that Ceres’ material could have been aqueously altered on small precursors. The modeled structure of Ceres suggests that a liquid layer could still be present between the crust and the core, which is consistent with Dawn observations and, thus, suggests accretion in the Kuiper belt. While the crust stability calculations indicate crust retention, the convection analysis and interior evolution imply that the crust could still be evolving.
Key words: minor planets, asteroids: individual: Ceres / planets and satellites: formation / planets and satellites: interiors / planets and satellites: oceans / planets and satellites: tectonics / convection
© W. Neumann et al. 2020
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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