The sharp landscape of Pluto, depicted by the New Horizons in July 2015
The New Horizons mission became revolutionary for understanding the distant world to which the device arrived in 2015. Among the many discoveries, scientists came across strange formations that look like huge ice blades.
Only now, researchers are trying to find an explanation. They believe that the structures are almost entirely made of methane ice and appeared as a result of a special type of erosion. These ridges are located near the equatorial line and stretched to the height of the skyscrapers.
Researchers say that everything starts with the freezing of methane at extreme heights. But why ridges, and not flat drops on the surface? The thing is that the dwarf planet passes through climate change and when the temperature rises, the ice evaporates.
An example of formations in Chile. They stretch for several feet, and Pluto peaks - a few hundred feet. But the ridges are sharp
This process is called sublimation, because the ice immediately goes into a gaseous state, bypassing the liquid. Such structures can also be found at the terrestrial equator, but on a smaller scale. Erosion on Pluto indicates that the climate has changed over millions of years. Previous conditions allowed methane to freeze, and now it evaporates.
Maps from New Horizons display data on topography (above) and composition (below). The red area is shown in high resolution with an indication of the height. The composition includes methane (orange)
Now we know that the surface of Pluto is more dynamic than it was supposed.
New Horizons allowed close to view the surface formation in the hemisphere "meeting".
Methane is associated with high altitude, so you can determine exactly where it is located and add gaps in the 2015 review. Scientists believe that sharp ridges can be located on the second side.