image 22-October-2017 04:32:34

Comet pit formation

Date: 01 July 2015
Satellite: Rosetta
Copyright: ESA/Rosetta/J-B Vincent et al. (2015)

Graphic explaining how Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s pits may form through sinkhole collapse. The graphic shows a dusty surface layer covering a mixture of dust and ices. 1. Heat causes subsurface ices to sublimate (blue arrows), forming a cavity (2). When the ceiling becomes too weak to support its own weight, it collapses, creating a deep, circular pit (3, red arrow). Newly exposed material in the pit walls sublimates, accounting for the observed activity (3, blue arrows).

Last Update: 24 July 2015

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