Do Ice Volcanoes Exist

As incredibly sound as it is, in our solar system there really are planets and moons on which volcanoes blast out large volumes of ice.

They’re known as cryovolcanoes (ice volcanoes).

On Saturn’s moon Enceladus volcanoes spouting ice. The flyover by Cassini several years ago revealed jets spurting from four cracks along the moon’s surface, named Alexandria, Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus.

The eruptions were so high that they could easily be seen in profile from space.

Ice volcanoes work in a similar way as volcanoes found on Earth: scientists believe that subterranean geological activity on Enceladus warms the freezing surface into a slush of water, ice and organic compounds, which is then ejected by ice sheets grinding up against one another.

Enceladus has an elliptical orbit similar to our moon, so as Saturn’s gravity pulls unevenly at Enceladus it creates a bulge that generates the friction and heat necessary to cause this previously unheard-of phenomenon.

Ice Volcano

It is also possible that on Saturn’s moon Titan exist cryovolcanoes but due to its foggy atmosphere, noticing the formation of soil on its surface is extremely difficult. Titan is, among other things, a perfect candidate for ice volcanoes, because of its extreme cold conditions, as the temperature on the surface is -180 degrees Celsius.

Also, the latest findings from the study of the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest planetoid in the asteroid field between Mars and Jupiter, show that it is home to dozens of volcanoes that blast out the frozen water and gases into the atmosphere.

The largest is called Ahuna Mons whose peak is at a height of about five thousand meters (only half the size of Mt. Everest). It is estimated that the formation of this ice volcano lasted for billions of years and further research has found evidence that it is in fact a massive ice volcano that ejects boiling salty water.

Using computer modeling and images captured by NASA’s Dawn aircraft, a team of scientists in the United States recognized 22 mountains on Ceres that have volcanoes that erupt ice. Their diameter ranges from 16 to 87 km.


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