A series of dome-shaped ice volcanoes has been identified on Pluto, Structures unlike anything else known in our solar system.
volcanoes which may still be activeidentified on the dwarf planet through data from the New Horizons spacecraft, NASAwhich flew over Pluto in 2015.
The results show that this distant icy world is more dynamic than scientists thought.
“Finding these features indicates that Pluto is more geologically active or alive, than we previously thought,” said planetary scientist Kelsey Singer of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, lead author of the study published in Nature Communications.
According to scientists, these cold volcanoes –Can be up to 10 or moreIt reaches a height of 1 to 7 km. Unlike Earth’s volcanoes that spew gases and molten rock, Frozen volcanoes on this dwarf planet are spouting large amounts of ice, and it appears to be frozen water rather than some other frozen material.Which may contain the consistency of toothpaste, according to the researchers.
The asteroid belt features of the dwarf planet Ceres, Saturn’s moons Enceladus and Titan, Jupiter’s moon Europa, and Neptune’s moon Triton have also been identified as freezing volcanoes. But they are all different from Pluto, the researchers said, due to different surface conditions, such as temperature and atmospheric pressure, as well as a different mixture of icy material.
“The combination of these geologically recent features, which cover a vast area and are likely made of water ice, is surprising because it requires more internal heat than we thought Pluto would at this point in its history,” Singer added.
Pluto It is smaller than the Earth’s moon and has a diameter of about 2,380 km, orbiting about 5.8 billion kilometers from the sun, about 40 times farther than the Earth’s orbit. Its surface is characterized by plains, mountains, craters and valleys.
New Horizons takes a picture of Pluto. – Photo: NASA/JHU-APL/SWRI
The images and data analyzed in the new study, taken by New Horizons in 2015, validate previous hypotheses about volcanoes on Pluto.
Southwest Research Institute planetary scientist Alan Stern, principal investigator at New Horizons and co-author of the study, said the study found not only comprehensive evidence for the use of ice volcanoes, but also long-lived, not a single episode.
“The most amazing thing about Pluto is that it is very complex — as complex as Earth or Mars, despite its small size and great distance from the Sun,” Stern said. “This was a real surprise from the New Horizons flight, and the new finding on volcanic eruptions confirms that in a big way.”
Like Earth and the other planets in our solar system, Pluto formed about 4.5 billion years ago. Based on the lack of impact craters that typically build up over time, their frigid volcanoes appear to be relatively recent – formed over the past hundreds of millions of years.
“This is very recent on a geological time scale. Since there are virtually no impact craters, it is likely that these processes are continuing today,” Singer said.
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