Ancient and present surface evolution processes in the Ash region of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2021

A. Bouquety, L. Jorda, O. Groussin, A. Sejourné, S. Bouley, F. Costard

The Rosetta mission provided us with detailed data of the surface of the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumovthis http URL order to better understand the physical processes associated with the comet activity and the surface evolution of its nucleus, we performed a detailed comparative morphometrical analysis of two depressions located in the Ash region. To detect morphological temporal changes, we compared pre- and post-perihelion high-resolution (pixel scale of 0.07-1.75 m) OSIRIS images of the two depressions. We quantified the changes using the dynamic heights and the gravitational slopes calculated from the Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the studied area using the ArcGIS software before and after perihelion. Our comparative morphometrical analysis allowed us to detect and quantify the temporal changes that occurred in two depressions of the Ash region during the last perihelion passage. We find that the two depressions grew by several meters. The area of the smallest depression (structure I) increased by 90+/-20%, with two preferential growths: one close to the cliff associated with the apparition of new boulders at its foot, and a second one on the opposite side of the cliff. The largest depression (structure II) grew in all directions, increasing in area by 20+/-5%, and no new deposits have been detected. We interpreted these two depression changes as being driven by the sublimation of ices, which explains their global growth and which can also trigger landslides. The deposits associated with depression II reveal a stair-like topography, indicating that they have accumulated during several successive landslides from different perihelion passages. Overall, these observations bring additional evidence of complex active processes and reshaping events occurring on short timescales, such as depression growth and landslides, and on longer timescales, such as cliff retreat.

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability (; Geophysics (physics.geo-ph)

Cite as: arXiv:2104.13741 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2104.13741v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Axel Bouquety 

[v1] Wed, 28 Apr 2021 13:03:16 UTC (2,161 KB)

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