Observations of comet nuclei indicate that the main constituent is a mix of ice and refractory materials characterized by high porosity (70–75%) and low bulk strength (10−4–10−6 MPa); however, the nature and physical properties of these materials remain largely unknown. By combining surface inspection of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and three-dimensional (3D) modeling of the independent concentric sets of layers that make up the structure of its two lobes, we provide clues about the large-scale rheological behavior of the nucleus and the kinematics of the impact that originated it. Large folds in the layered structure indicate that the merging of the two cometesimals involved reciprocal motion with dextral strike–slip kinematics that bent the layers in the contact area without obliterating them. Widespread long cracks and the evidence of relevant mass loss in absence of large density variations within the comet’s body testify that large-scale deformation occurred in a brittle-plastic regime and was accommodated through folding and fracturing. Comparison of refined 3D geologic models of the lobes with triaxial ellipsoids that suitably represent the overall layers arrangement reveals characteristics that are consistent with an impact between two roughly ellipsoidal cometesimals that produced large-scale axial compression and transversal elongation. The observed features imply global transfer of impact-related shortening into transversal strain. These elements delineate a model for the global rheology of cometesimals that could be possible evoking a prominent bonding action of ice and, to a minor extent, organics.

Global-scale brittle plastic rheology at the cometesimals merging of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko

Franceschi M.;Penasa L.;Massironi M.;Naletto G.;Ferrari S.;Fondriest M.;
2020

Abstract

Observations of comet nuclei indicate that the main constituent is a mix of ice and refractory materials characterized by high porosity (70–75%) and low bulk strength (10−4–10−6 MPa); however, the nature and physical properties of these materials remain largely unknown. By combining surface inspection of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and three-dimensional (3D) modeling of the independent concentric sets of layers that make up the structure of its two lobes, we provide clues about the large-scale rheological behavior of the nucleus and the kinematics of the impact that originated it. Large folds in the layered structure indicate that the merging of the two cometesimals involved reciprocal motion with dextral strike–slip kinematics that bent the layers in the contact area without obliterating them. Widespread long cracks and the evidence of relevant mass loss in absence of large density variations within the comet’s body testify that large-scale deformation occurred in a brittle-plastic regime and was accommodated through folding and fracturing. Comparison of refined 3D geologic models of the lobes with triaxial ellipsoids that suitably represent the overall layers arrangement reveals characteristics that are consistent with an impact between two roughly ellipsoidal cometesimals that produced large-scale axial compression and transversal elongation. The observed features imply global transfer of impact-related shortening into transversal strain. These elements delineate a model for the global rheology of cometesimals that could be possible evoking a prominent bonding action of ice and, to a minor extent, organics.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3341445
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