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Topographically Influenced Evolution of Large-scale Changes in Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's Imhotep Region

Abstract : Large portions of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's northern hemisphere are blanketed by fallback material consisting of centimeter-sized particles termed the smooth terrains. Observations from the Rosetta mission show that the most drastic transient changes during 67P's 2015 perihelion passage occurred within a subset of these deposits. However, we still do not understand the processes driving these changes, limiting our overall understanding of how comets evolve over both seasonal and multiorbit timescales. Herein we provide a complete documentation of scarp-driven activity on 67P's largest smooth terrain deposit, a highly active portion of the Imhotep region that is the southernmost of all smooth terrain basins on 67P. We also present a thermal model that accurately predicts when and where scarps originate during the course of the observed activity. Assuming a uniform surface composition, our model shows that activity is heavily controlled by local topography rather than the presence of ice-enhanced hot spots on the surface. Scarps within the smooth terrain deposits in central Imhotep also exhibit a peculiar behavior, where three scarps originate from the same location but at different times and migrate in opposite directions. This behavior indicates that the landscape retains a memory of previous cycles of erosion and deposition, reflected by the depth of the volatile-rich layer. Future work will need to couple our thermal model with a landscape evolution model in order to explain the complete dynamic evolution of these terrains.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-03869674
Contributor : Nathalie POTHIER Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, November 24, 2022 - 1:39:33 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 25, 2022 - 3:37:32 AM

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Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Abhinav S. Jindal, Samuel P. D. Birch, Alexander G. Hayes, Orkan M. Umurhan, Raphael Marschall, et al.. Topographically Influenced Evolution of Large-scale Changes in Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's Imhotep Region. The Planetary Science Journal, 2022, 3, ⟨10.3847/PSJ/ac7e48⟩. ⟨insu-03869674⟩

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