Ahuna Mons

Ahuna Mons
Ahuna Mons This simulated view of Ahuna Mons, Ceres’ highest mountain, was made with bonus stereo pictures Dawn acquired from an altitude of 240 miles (385 kilometers). Ahuna Mons is likely a cryovolcano (“cold volcano”), formed by cryomagma composed of salty mud rising from underground. The volcano is geologically young, probably between 50 and 240 million years. (We discussed in May how ages are estimated, but the analysis for Ahuna Mons cannot yet pin down the age more accurately.) As Ceres is nearly 4.6 billion years old, a structure that developed so recently suggests that some of the conditions that were necessary may persist even today. (So far, scientists have identified no other cryovolcanoes on Ceres.) It took somewhere between a few hundred and few hundred thousand years for the volcano to build up to its present size. The elevation of the summit is about 13,000 feet (4,000 meters), and the mountain is 11 miles (17 kilometers) across at the base. Note the streaks from rockfalls down the steep slopes (about 35 degrees). This view is from the north, and in the foreground is a crater coincidentally 11 miles (17 kilometers) across. From the lowest point in this crater to the top of the volcano is 24,800 feet (7,560 meters) vertically across a horizontal distance of only nine miles (15 kilometers). With 2.7 percent of Earth’s gravity, this could be a very nice extraterrestrial hike. NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA

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