A new study reveals some fascinating insights into an ice volcano on the dwarf planet Ceres.
The volcano Ahuna Mons is about 13,000 feet tall and 11 miles wide which is particularly impressive given that Ceres is "less than 600 miles wide."
As an Arizona State University news release reports, the mountain is considered to be the result of cryovolcanism where the "volcanic dome [was] built from repeated eruptions of freezing salty water."
The mountain is also estimated to be relatively young.
David Williams, one of the paper's authors, explains that it only has "a few craters on its surface, which points to an age of just couple hundred million years at most."
As the release states, "the implications of Ahuna Mons being volcanic in origin are enormous."
While the dwarf planet's surface temperatures are considerably below freezing on average, "its interior has kept warm enough for liquid water or brines to exist for a relatively long period [which]...has allowed volcanic activity..."
Researchers plan to continue studying the area "to better understand the interior structure of Ceres."
See photos of Ceres:
This image, made using images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows Occator crater on Ceres, home to a collection of intriguing bright spots. (Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)
NASA's Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers). The mountain, located in the southern hemisphere, stands 4 miles (6 kilometers) high. Its perimeter is sharply defined, with almost no accumulated debris at the base of the brightly streaked slope.
The intriguing brightest spots on Ceres lie in a crater named Occator, which is about 60 miles (90 kilometers) across and 2 miles (4 kilometers) deep.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft took this image that shows a mountain ridge, near lower left, that lies in the center of Urvara crater on Ceres.
NASA's Dawn Spacecraft took this image of Gaue crater, the large crater on the bottom, on Ceres. Gaue is a Germanic goddess to whom offerings are made in harvesting rye.
(Photo via NASA)
This morning, our @NASA_Dawn mission arrives at the dwarf planet #Ceres: http://t.co/49tIUjqOj2 http://t.co/bFHlRte7Nj
Dawn robotic spacecraft next to Ceres and Vesta, members of the asteroid belt, to study them in space. - Elements of this image furnished by NASA