Moving mountains and white spots of Ceres [EPA]

Among surprising results of NASA’s Dawn spacecraft mission at dwarf planet Ceres are enigmatic bright spots inside Occator crater and a lone tall pyramid mountain. Here we explain the appearance of such spots, weird mountains, and concomitant craters on celestial bodies. The phenomenon is as follows. A mountain is ejected rotated out of mechanically stressed crust as a result of explosive conical cleavage all over its buried surface. Then the mountain lands upside down i.e. summit up. It may save its integrity or split into parts to form mountains of smaller sizes and/or block debris. The process is a volcanic caldera formation regime. We infer that it is the result of crack expansion and fracture of planetary crust due to inherent stresses. We scrutinize the processes’ phenomenology on examples of Ceres’ relief features. Pile-ups of bright substances are also synthesized in the course of the newly described phenomenon of explosive ejective orogenesis. Our analyses allow establish a viewpoint that is consistent with a broad range of observational data.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Gur
Wed, 6 Dec 17

Comments: submitted to journal Nature