Rayed craters on Dione: Implication for the dominant surface alteration process

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From recently-acquired, high-resolution images obtained by the Cassini spacecraft, we examine the patterns and spatial distributions of rayed craters on Dione. We identify 29 rayed craters with diameters larger than 2km on Dione's surface. The density of rayed craters and theoretical cratering rates indicate that the retention time for rays on Dione can be approximately 1–50My. Such a short retention time is interpreted to be due to bombardment of plasma and E-ring particles, as well as implantation of dark particles (presumably the same dark material found on Hyperion, Iapetus, and other saturnian satellites). We also find that when the ray system of Creusa crater was formed, it extended over most of the surface of Dione. Later, the ray system deposited on the trailing hemisphere might have been partially erased, mostly due to implantation of dark particles, which may have also removed other bright ray systems in that region. The pattern of Creusa's ray system implies that the implantation of the dark material occurred more recent than both the age of Creusa crater and the typical retention time for rays on Dione.


  • Icarus

    Icarus (274), 116-121, 2016-08



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