Weird geology on Charon

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Charon's mountain in a moat

As they await the arrival of more data from New Horizons, the science team have highlighted this interesting and entirely puzzling feature revealed in their first global image from Charon, shown in the image on the right, a mountain inside a depression. Note also the nearby rill-like depressions running from one crater to the next.

My first thought is that the mountain, which in this relatively low resolution image looks almost like a really gigantic boulder, is made of material denser than the ground in which it sits, and some heating event caused the ground to soften and collapse, dropping the mountain-sized boulder down into the sinkhole.

I am guessing of course. What we have here is a very alien environment, with geological processes in temperatures and densities and gravities to which we are wholly unfamiliar. What we would normally expect to happen is not something we should expect to normally happen on either Charon or Pluto.


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