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A deep crust–mantle boundary in the asteroid 4 Vesta

Nature volume 511, pages 303306 (17 July 2014) | Download Citation

Abstract

The asteroid 4 Vesta was recently found to have two large impact craters near its south pole, exposing subsurface material. Modelling suggested that surface material in the northern hemisphere of Vesta came from a depth of about 20 kilometres, whereas the exposed southern material comes from a depth of 60 to 100 kilometres. Large amounts of olivine from the mantle were not seen, suggesting that the outer 100 kilometres or so is mainly igneous crust. Here we analyse the data on Vesta and conclude that the crust–mantle boundary (or Moho) is deeper than 80 kilometres.

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Acknowledgements

M.J. acknowledges support from the Swiss National Science Foundation through the Ambizione program. J.-A.B. acknowledges support from the INSU Programme National de Planétologie. E.I.A. was sponsored by the NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. EPSL, Institute of Condensed Matter Physics, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Station 3, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

    • Harold Clenet
    •  & Philippe Gillet
  2. Physics Institute, Space Research and Planetary Sciences, Center for Space and Habitability, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland

    • Martin Jutzi
    •  & Willy Benz
  3. Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, CNRS UMR 6538, Place Nicolas Copernic, 29280 Plouzané, France

    • Jean-Alix Barrat
  4. School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, PO Box 876004, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA

    • Erik I. Asphaug

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Contributions

H.C. analysed data and led the research. M.J. performed the numerical simulations. P.G. initiated the collaboration and funded part of the research. All authors interpreted the results and contributed to the preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Harold Clenet.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13499

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