Ice volcanoes on Saturn’s moon Titan are likely, say scientists who announced their findings at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
The evidence for ice volcanoes comes from analysis of images taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Three-dimensional maps were created using visual, infrared, and radar data from Cassini flybys of Titan. The maps revealed two peaks more than 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) high with deep volcanic craters and finger-like flows in an area on Titan called Sotra Facula.
“This is the very best evidence, by far, for volcanic topography anywhere documented on an icy satellite,” said Jeffrey Kargel, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
The ice volcanoes are thought to slowly spew a mixture of hydrocarbons that include methane and ammonia, heated from many kilometers below the thick icy shell that surrounds Titan.