Thermo-mechanical adjustment after impacts during planetary growth

Abstract : The thermal evolution of planets during their growth is strongly influenced by impact heating. The temperature increase after a collision is mostly located next to the shock. For Moon to Mars size planets where impact melting is limited, the long term thermo-mechanical readjustment is driven by spreading and cooling of the heated zone. To determine the time and length scales of the adjustment, we developed a numerical model in axisymmetric cylindrical geometry with variable viscosity. We show that if the impactor is larger than a critical size, the spherical heated zone isothermally flattens until its thickness reaches a value for which motionless thermal diffusion becomes more effective. The thickness at the end of advection depends only on the physical properties of the impacted body. The obtained timescales for the adjustment are comparable to the duration of planetary accretion and depend mostly on the physical properties of the impacted body.
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Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union, 2007, 34 (24), pp.L24201. 〈10.1029/2007GL031635〉
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Julien Monteux, Nicolas Coltice, Fabien Dubuffet, Yanick Ricard. Thermo-mechanical adjustment after impacts during planetary growth. Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union, 2007, 34 (24), pp.L24201. 〈10.1029/2007GL031635〉. 〈hal-01636038〉

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