Scientists have come up with a startling explanation for the creation of a strange, stripe-shaped mountain on the dwarf planet Ceres, a 600-mile wide body orbiting the sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.  The huge peak, Ahuna Mons, was formed when a lump of salty, rocky mud from the depths of Ceres broke through the icy crust and froze, according to a study published on June 10 in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Ceres is geologically active and has a cratered surface, partly shaped by eruptions not by molten rock – as on Earth – but by liquid water. This so-called cryovolcanism was observed on several bodies in the solar system and first on the Neptunmond Triton.
With a peak 4,000 to 5,000 meters above the surface, Ahuna Mons Ceres is the highest mountain. It was discovered in 201
The size of the isolated peak and the smooth contours – which are very different from those of the dwarf planet – caused a stir among scientists.
"My first reaction was, that's amazing," said study author Wladimir Neumann, a planetologist at the DLR Institute for Planetary Research in Berlin-Adlershof, about the unusual mountain. "The second was, this is something I've never seen before in reality or in pictures."
NASA says the "lonely mountain" is "like nothing humanity has ever seen before."
Research has shown that Ahuna Mons was probably created about 210 million years ago by cryovulcanic activity – relatively recently for a protoplaneten that formed about 4.5 billion years ago.
Neumann and the other members of an international research team studied gravitational data for Ceres, which were won by the spacecraft Dawn. The data showed a large mass concentration under Ahuna Mons; The scientists used computer models to show that the so-called mascon was associated with a cloud of subterranean material that was the likely source of saltwater that formed the mountain.
Mission allowed us to provide more information about the Ahuna Mons region, "said Antonio Genova, geophysicist at Sapienza University in Rome and head of the research team, in an email.
The presence of liquid water on Ceres suggests that Ceres may be "investigated for livelihood," but the new research did not provide any clues to life on the dwarf planet.
"I do not think the People believe there is life on Ceres, "said Erwan Mazarico, a researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who was not involved in the new study, but added," It's an interesting place to learn more about the processes that can give rise to life. "
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