Scientists have been given an explanatory explanation of the origin of a strange, striped mountain on the dwarf planet Ceres, a 600-kilometer-wide body that orbits the sun in the asteroid band between Mars and Jupiter.  The huge tip, Ahuna Mons, formed when a bunch of salted, rocky mud from deep inside Ceres broke through the icy crust and froze, according to a study published June 10 in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The research adds evidence that Ceres is geologically active, with a crater-bottomed surface partly formed of eruptions not of molten stone – as on the ground ̵
With a summit set at 4,000 to 5,000 meters (13,000 to 16,000 feet) above the surface, Ahuna Mons Ceres is the highest mountain. It was discovered in 2015 when NASA's newly defined Ceres groundbreaking Dawn spacecraft illuminated images of the dwarf planet's surface.
The size and smooth contours of the isolated top, which are very different from the general pockmark appearance of the dwarf planet, caused a stare among scientists.
"My first reaction was this amazing," co-author Wladimir Neumann, a planet researcher at the DLR Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin-Adlershof, studied on the unusual mountain. "The second was, it's something I've never seen before in reality or in pictures."
NASA says the "lonely mountain" is "as nothing that humanity has ever seen before."
Subsequent research showed that Ahuna Mons probably formed of cryovolcanic activity about 210 million years ago – relatively recently for a protoplanet that formed about 4.5 billion years ago – but the new study provides a more complete picture of the process.
Neumann and the other members of an international team of researchers studied gravitational data for Ceres obtained by Dawn Spacecraft. The data revealed a large concentration of mass under Ahuna Mons; the researchers used computer modeling to show that the so-called mascon was associated with a plume of subsurface material, which was the likely source of briny fluid that formed the mountain.
"We were genuinely surprised that the data collected by Dawn Mission allowed us to provide additional information about the Ahuna Mons region," Antonio Genoa, a geophysicist at Sapienza University in Rome and the leader of the research team, said in an email.
The presence of liquid water at Ceres suggests that it could be habitable. But Genoa said that while Ceres could "be examined for the possibility of habitation," the new research did not provide any evidence of life on the dwarf planet. "19659002" I don't think people think there is life at Ceres, "says Erwan Mazarico, a researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who was not involved in the new study. But he added:" It's an interesting place to learn about the processes that can give rise to life. "
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