A cryovolcano (colloquially known as an ice volcano) is a theoretical type of volcano that erupts volatiles such as water, ammonia or methane, instead of molten rock. Collectively referred to as cryomagma or ice–volcanic melt, these substances are usually liquids and can form plumes, but can also be in vapour form.
The volcano, which is named Ahuna Mons, was formed relatively receantly.
The largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Ceres has been the subject of much intrigue recently thanks to its mysterious bright spots and anomalous surface features.
Now scientists have identified what they believe to be evidence of cryovolcanism there as well in the form of a large volcano formed millions of years ago by briny ‘lava’ flowing up from far below.
Cryovolcanoes, which are produced through processes involving freezing liquids or gases rather than molten rock, have long been suspected on several icy worlds in our solar system including Saturn’s moon Titan and the distant world of Pluto which was also visited just last year.
“Ahuna Mons is evidence of an unusual type of volcanism, involving salty water and mud, at work on Ceres,” said NASA’s Ottaviano Ruesch. “Geologic activity was discussed and debated among scientists: now we finally have observations testifying to its occurrence.”
Originally posted 2016-09-16 10:44:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter