Scientists have proposed a new detailed model to explain the formation of the large mountain Ahuna Mons on the asteroid Ceres.
The new theory doesn’t change the generally accepted idea that this mountain is a ice volcano, formed by the rise of a brine from below. It simply provides some details about the process.
A study involving scientists from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has now solved the mystery of how Ahuna Mons, as the mountain is called, was formed, using gravity measurements and investigations of the geometrical form of Ceres. A bubble made of a mixture of salt water, mud and rock rose from within the dwarf planet. The bubble pushed the ice-rich crust upwards, and at a structural weak point the muddy substance, comprising salts and hydrogenated silicates, was pushed to the surface, solidified in the cold of space, in the absence of any atmosphere, and piled up to form a mountain. Ahuna Mons is an enormous mud volcano.
The bubble would be the equivalent of a magma chamber of lava here on Earth.