Special Seminar: Michael Sori (University of Arizona)
Ceres as a laboratory for cryovolcanism and other planetary processes
Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt, has been revealed by NASA’s Dawn mission to be a complex geophysical world. Its transitional nature – somewhere between icy and rocky, asteroid and planet – allows Ceres to elucidate a number of planetary processes. In this talk, I will focus on icy volcanism, also called cryovolcanism. I will argue that surface features show Ceres to be geologically active, and geophysical models constrain its cryovolcanic rate. The level of activity I infer shows that cryovolcanism is an important geological process in the solar system, but is not as dominant as silicate volcanism. I will end by discussing ways in which the techniques here can be used to study other topics in planetary geophysics, including determining the interior structure of Ceres and investigating the possibility of metallic volcanism on other worlds.