Giant ice volcanoes identified on Pluto

(ORDO NEWS) — Unusual hilly terrain on Pluto, unlike anything previously seen in the solar system, indicates that giant ice volcanoes have been active on the surface of the dwarf planet relatively recently, scientists said yesterday, Tuesday, March 29.

These observations, which were made based on analysis of images taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, confirm that the interior of Pluto had a relatively high temperature much later than previously thought.

Instead of erupting hot lava into the air, ice volcanoes ooze “a thick slurry of water and ice, or even perhaps experience viscoplastic flow in a solid state, similar to glaciers,” said Kelsi Singer, study author and planetary scientist at the Southwestern Research Institute. , USA.

Singer said the study was unable to determine exactly when these icy volcanoes formed, “but we believe they are no more than a few hundred million years old or less.”

Unlike the rest of Pluto’s surface, there are no impact craters in this zone, which means that “the possibility that the formation of ice volcanoes continues at the present time cannot be ruled out,” she said.

According to the study, one such structure, the Wright Mons cryogenic volcano (Mount Wright), is about five kilometers high and 150 kilometers in diameter, while its volume is comparable to the volume of one of the largest volcanoes on Earth – the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa.

The New Horizons probe became the first spacecraft to pass near Pluto in 2015.


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