Unlike the volcanic eruption lava of the Earth, ice volcanoes erupt by liquid or gaseous volatiles such as ammonia, water or methane. Previously, traces of ice volcanic activity have been found on many celestial bodies in the outer solar system. In 2015, the "Dawn" probe entered the Ceres and discovered a rounded mountain peak. The mountain named Ahuna Mons is considered an ice volcano. However, since then, similar structures have not been found on Ceres.
Scientists believe that the glacial volcanic dome will gradually flatten and eventually merge with the surrounding terrain. Based on this view, astronomer Michael Soli of the University of Arizona and his colleagues, using a flat-shaped model of the dome, found 22 locations that were once glacial volcanoes in a picture of Ceres taken by the Dawn probe. By estimating the age of these ice volcanoes, the researchers found that over the past 1 billion years, on average, new ice volcanoes have appeared on Ceres every 50 million years.
According to the research team, the number of icy eruptions on the surface of Ceres is one to one hundredth of a volcanic eruption on Earth, Moon, Venus, and Mars. However, compared to the standard volcanic activity on Earth, the continuous volcanic activity on Ceres does not have the same wide-ranging effect on its surface.
The "Dawn" asteroid detector is the first man-made device in history to detect asteroid belts and visit dwarf planets, opening a new era in human exploration of space. In 2017, Dawn detected organic matter near a crater in Ceres. This is the first time humans have discovered organic compounds in the asteroid belt, which is the cornerstone of life on Earth.