Mikhail Zolotov: Work on the dwarf planet Ceres

Dawn spacecraft images of Ceres indicate a vivid topography, large and deep impact craters without fluidized outflows. These features are consistent with a rocky and undifferentiated internal structure without water mantle. The undifferentiated structure of Ceres  was predicted in 2009.  That paper demonstrated that Ceres could be a porous rocky body with mineral grain density similar to that of carbonaceous chondrites. Dawn data (2019 analysis) are consistent with compressed undifferentiated Ceres.


Carbonates detected in Occator crater suggest a rapid isochemical emplacement by post-impact plumes. Salts could have deposited in ice grains from plumes and accumulated at the boiling depth. Other bright materials are excavated plume and subsurface salt deposits.


Hydrated and ammonium salts are unstable at the surface in Occator.

Journal Publications:

Zolotov, M. Yu. (2020) The composition and structure of Ceres’ interior. Icarus 335, 113404. https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Zjzi4L-YUrkS https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2019.113404

Zolotov, M. Yu. (2017) Aqueous origins of bright salt deposits on Ceres. Icarus 296, 289–304. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0019103516308533.

Zolotov, M. (2016) Planetary Science: Salty Ceres. Nature Geoscience 9, 476-477. http://rdcu.be/i4sq

Zolotov, M. Yu. (2014) Formation of brucite and cronstedtite-bearing mineral assemblages on Ceres. Icarus 228, 13-26. pdf

Zolotov, M. Yu. (2009) On the composition and differentiation of Ceres. Icarus 204, 183-193, pdf.


Non-referred publications, abstracts

Zolotov, M. Yu. (2019) Abundance, composition and fate of organic matter in Ceres’ interior. Astrobiology Science Conference, Seattle, June 2019. Abstract 481063.

Zolotov, M. Yu. (2019) Ceres’ shape agrees with an organic-rich interior structure. 50th Lunar and Planet. Sci. Conf., Abstract 3063.

Zolotov, M. Yu. (2018) Dawn data agree with a compressed undifferentiated Ceres. 49th Lunar and Planet. Sci. Conf., Abstract 1341.

Zolotov, M. Yu., and M. V. Mironenko (2017) Bright salts on Ceres: Aqueous accumulation and airborne emplacement. 48th Lunar and Planet. Sci. Conf., Abstract 1241. pdf

Zolotov, M. Yu. (2015) Physical chemistry of impact-generated fluids and bright spots on Ceres. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 50, Suppl., Meeting abstract 5384. pdf

Zolotov, M. Yu. and Mironenko, M. V. (2015) Metasomatism on early Ceres: A global rock alteration and fluid transfer. 46th Lunar and Planet. Sci. Conf. Abstract 1466. pdf

Zolotov, M. Yu., (2013) An impact origin for surface minerals on Ceres. AGU Fall Meeting, Abstract P23A-1751. pdf

Rivkin,  A. S., Castillo, J. C.; Abreu, N., Asphaug, E. I., Cheng, A. F.; Clark, B.E.; Cohen, B. A.; Conrad, P. G., Hayne, P. O., Howell, E. S., Johnson, T.V., Kramer, G. Y., Lebofsky, L. A., Li, J., Lim L. F., Lovell, A. J., Matson, D., McCord, T.B., McFadden, L., McKinnon, W. B., Milliken, R., Moore, W. B., Roberts, J. H., Russell, C. T., Schmidt, B.E., Sykes, M.V., Thomas, P. C., and Zolotov, M. Y. (2009) The Case for Ceres: Report to the Planetary Science Decadal Survey Committee. Eos Trans. AGU, 90(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., abstract P52A-08. Pdf-1  Pdf-2

Zolotov, M. Yu. (2009) Ceres: A Case for Porous, Undifferentiated, and Non-Icy Hydrated Body, 40th Lunar and Planet. Sci. Conf., abstract 2329. pdf

Zolotov, M. Yu. (2008) Is Ceres Differentiated?, Eos Trans. AGU, 89(52) Fall Meet. Suppl., abstract P51C-1424. pdf