Large-scale cryovolcanic resurfacing on Pluto - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Nature Communications Year : 2022

Large-scale cryovolcanic resurfacing on Pluto

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Kelsi Singer
Oliver White
Erika Rader
William Grundy
Dale Cruikshank
Paul Schenk
William Mckinnon
S. Alan Stern
Rajani Dhingra
Kirby Runyon
  • Function : Author
Ross Beyer
Veronica Bray
  • Function : Author
Cristina Dalle Ore
  • Function : Author
John Spencer
Jeffrey Moore
  • Function : Author
Francis Nimmo
James Keane
Leslie Young
Catherine Olkin
Kimberly Ennico-Smith
  • Function : Author

Abstract

The New Horizons spacecraft returned images and compositional data showing that terrains on Pluto span a variety of ages, ranging from relatively ancient, heavily cratered areas to very young surfaces with few-to-no impact craters. One of the regions with very few impact craters is dominated by enormous rises with hummocky flanks. Similar features do not exist anywhere else in the imaged solar system. Here we analyze the geomorphology and composition of the features and conclude this region was resurfaced by cryovolcanic processes, of a type and scale so far unique to Pluto. Creation of this terrain requires multiple eruption sites and a large volume of material (>10 4 km 3) to form what we propose are multiple, several-km-high domes, some of which merge to form more complex planforms. The existence of these massive features suggests Pluto's interior structure and evolution allows for either enhanced retention of heat or more heat overall than was anticipated before New Horizons, which permitted mobilization of water-ice-rich materials late in Pluto's history.
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Dates and versions

hal-03666038 , version 1 (12-05-2022)

Licence

Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Kelsi Singer, Oliver White, Bernard Schmitt, Erika Rader, Silvia Protopapa, et al.. Large-scale cryovolcanic resurfacing on Pluto. Nature Communications, 2022, 13 (1), pp.1542. ⟨10.1038/s41467-022-29056-3⟩. ⟨hal-03666038⟩
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