(ORDO NEWS) — The third largest crater on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres has shown geological activity at least once, many millions of years after its formation.
In a new paper, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany, and other scientific organizations present the most detailed study of the Urvara crater to date.
For the first time, images taken with the onboard camera of NASA‘s Dawn spacecraft were analyzed, showing structures as small as a few meters in size.
The Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around the dwarf planet in 2015 and studied it at close range for 3.5 years. Just like the famous Occator crater, Urvara crater is showing signs of cryovolcanic activity, researchers say.
These high-resolution images of the Urvara Crater showcase the geologically diverse landscape. The analysis revealed that the rocks of different areas of the crater have different ages, which can differ up to 100 million years.
This indicates that a rather long time after the completion of the formation of the crater, processes of surface change took place.
The researchers determined the age of the surface by the number of craters, which, in the case of bodies that do not have an atmosphere, naturally increases when moving from young to older surfaces.
According to the models available to scientists, the age of the oldest rocks of the Urvara crater is about 250 million years. At this time, the formation of the crater itself took place. The younger surfaces within the crater are large, smooth, dark zones, as well as depressions, which probably
In addition, the analysis of light reflected from the surface showed that the bright material is salts, and deposits of organic substances are observed along the salt deposits. This combination of organics and salts has never been seen before on the surface of a dwarf planet.
Deposits of organic compounds are quite young. Researchers associate the origin of salts with the seepage of salt water from the subsurface ocean, the origin of organic matter is being established.
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