Compositional differences among Bright Spots on the Ceres surface

1,2E.Palomba et al. (>10)
Icarus (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2017.09.020]
1INAF-IAPS, via del Fosso del Cavaliere 100, I-00133 Rome, Italy
2Space Science Data Center-ASI, Via del Politecnico, snc, Edificio D, 00133 Rome, Italy
Copyright Elsevier

At the beginning of the Ceres investigation, the Dawn-NASA mission discovered a large bright spot (BS) in the Occator crater floor. Several other smaller bright spots were discovered during the following phases of the mission. In this paper, a complete survey for the detection of BS on the Ceres surface have been made by using the hyperspectral data acquired by Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIR). The hyperspectral images span the spectral range from 0.2 to 5 µm, by using two channel, the VIS channel with a spectral sampling of 1.8 nm and a IR channel with a spectral sampling of 9.8 nm. Finally a catalogue of 92 BS has been compiled and their compositional properties have been examined. In particular, five spectral parameters have been applied to perform the analysis: the photometrically corrected reflectance and four band depths, related to spectral absorptions at 2.7 µm (OH fundamental indicative of phyllosilicates), at 3.05 µm (due to ammoniated clays), at 3.4 and 4.0 µm (carbonate overtones). The 90% of BS are impact-related features (ejecta, crater rim, crater floor, crater wall). The two brightest BS, Cerealia and Vinalia Faculae, are located on the Occator crater floor. Most of BSs show features similar to the average Ceres surface, which has low reflectance and is composed of Mg-phyllosilicates and ammoniated clays, with a reduced abundance of Mgsingle bondCa carbonates. Cerealia and Vinalia Faculae are a peculiar BS family, with a high abundance of Na-carbonates and Al-rich phyllosilicates. Oxo and a companion bright spot represents a third category, depleted in phyllosilicates and with a high to moderate albedo. Carbonate composition ranges from Mg/Ca to Na components. Haulani, Ernutet, Kupalo, and other two BS’s represent another group, with intermediate properties between the typical BS and the Oxo family: they are moderately rich in carbonates and slightly depleted in Mg- and ammoniated phyllosilicates. The four families probably explain a single evolutionary path followed by the BS from the formation to their maturity: initially the very fresh bright spots would possess characteristics similar to Cerealia and Vinalia Faculae; with time, salts and OH volatilize and a light mixing with surrounding material would produce Oxo-like BS’s; additional strong mixing would form Haulani-like BS, which finally become a typical bright spots.

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