The authors conducted a mathematical simulation.
Images of the dwarf planet from the probe New Horizons during flyby near Pluto in the summer of 2015, reviewed by Matt Tefler (Matt Telfer) and his colleagues from the British Plymouth University. They show a wide flat land, dotted with characteristic mounds and lines, which astronomers have interpreted as familiar to us on Earth sand dunes.
The dune area is located on the border between the vast, reminiscent of the “heart” of smooth nitrogen ice Plain of the Satellite and composed of water ice mountain ridge al-Idrisi.
The mountains stretched for nearly 400 kilometers, and the folds of the terrain is oriented approximately parallel to their ridges: they are going pretty strong (Pluto) the winds, the speed can reach 10 m/s, which bring the fine granules of frozen methane from the mountain slopes. The total area covered area is around 2000 square kilometers.
The authors conducted mathematical modeling, showing that the strength of local winds is enough to hold in flight such methane grit, but hardly enough to lift them in flight, especially when the local is extremely rarefied atmosphere. Therefore, scientists suggest that the mechanism of formation of dunes on Pluto should be different from how it happens on Earth.
Before blowing off the mountains winds will start piling dunes, icy particles of methane are brought to their foot “monsoon” that blow from the Plains of the Satellite while it is heated by the Sun, and the ice sublimated into the gas phase.
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