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Ice Volcanoes Help Shape Topography Of Ceres

Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 3:47pm
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Ahuna Mons, a mountain on Ceres.
Ahuna Mons, dwarf planet Ceres' lonely mountain.

A newly published study by University of Arizona planetary scientists confirms the topography of the dwarf planet Ceres was shaped by ice volcanoes.

Ceres is a cold, large, rocky, icy object in the asteroid belt that lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

The new research confirmed theories of how volcanism changes the topography of icy celestial objects.

Michael Sori, planetary scientist at the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and a contributing author, said the data obtained by the Dawn spacecraft orbiting Ceres shows what prior computer models predicted.

“The mantle of the Earth is rocks. Lava erupts. It’s liquid rock. If you have a similar process occurring on Ceres which is a rock/ice mixture then you’d expect the lava to reflect the composition of the interior.”

The study is published in the journal "Nature Astronomy."