Ceres was a planet of eternal «ice volcanoes», found in NASA

© NASA / JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDAКратер Okkator on the planet CeresCeres was a planet of eternal «ice volcanoes», found in NASA© NASA / JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDAПодпишись to daily updates RIA Science

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. Ice volcanoes were almost continuously occur on the surface of Ceres, the largest dwarf planet since its birth. To such conclusion scientists of NASA, who published an article in the journal Nature Astronomy.

«We showed that cryovolcanism was supposed to appear on the surface of Ceres every 50 million years. On the one hand, traces of their existence must always have been present on the planet’s surface, and on the other they clearly played a smaller role in shaping its appearance than real volcanoes Earth, Venus, Mars and other rocky planets,» the scientists write.

First images of Ceres obtained by the Dawn probe in March of 2015 after his arrival to the dwarf planet, revealed two unusual structures that no one expected to see – a mysterious white spot in the crater Okkator caught traces of a thick «brine», and the unusual pyramidal mountain of Akhun, towering over Ceres for four kilometres.

Both forced scientists to reconsider the theory describing the formation of Ceres and other such failed «germ» of the planets. Only a year after the opening of these structures Christopher Russell (Christopher Russell), head of mission, and his colleagues stated that both are the product of cryovolcanism – the eruption regarding warm water and a thick «brine» from the depths of the dwarf planet on its surface.

The opening of this mountain has forced scholars to think about – whether it is a unique form of relief for Ceres, generated by a single meteorite impact and melting of its rocks, or similar «pyramid» could have a lot of time to grow on the surface of the dwarf planet in the past, and then disappear.

To answer this question, scientists analyzed an enormous archive of images collected by the Dawn probe during the last two years, and tried to find traces of dome-shaped structures, similar to the Sea and other well-known «cosmic» cryovolcanism on other planets and moons of the Solar system.

In such facilities, they relied on the fact that, unlike Earth and other rocky planets, the bowels of Ceres is mostly made up of ice. At very low temperatures the ice becomes almost as durable as real rock, but it retains a high fluidity.

It is shown that over time, the mountain, built from ice, «will be spread» in the surrounding plain, covering it with a uniform layer of frozen water. This process, as scientists have assumed, could make all the traces of ancient cryovolcanism almost invisible.

In total, Russell and his colleagues failed to find 32 of these dome-shaped structures with a height of about a kilometer or more, is hardly formed in the fall of asteroids or some other «non-volcanic» processes.

Selected two dozen of the most interesting objects, geologists, NASA measured from the height, volume and other parameters and tried to reconstruct their original appearance, using a computer model of the «spreading» of ice, and calculate the time of their life and the appearance on the surface of Ceres.

As shown by these calculations, cryovolcanism almost continuously emerged and existed on Ceres at least the last billion years, and will likely appear on its surface and in a more ancient era.

What gave them birth, it is not clear, however, the lack of volcanoes in the polar regions of Ceres, where the temperatures are extremely low, says about their «domestic» origin and lack of visible connection with falling of large asteroids. As scientists hope the new images from Dawn and further study of the Geology of Ceres will give the answer to this riddle.