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Throwing lava from ice .. the discovery of volcanoes on the planet Pluto

Throwing lava from ice .. the discovery of volcanoes on the planet Pluto

(AFP) – Subtitles
On Pluto, volcanoes are not like their counterparts on Earth, they are icy and spewing lava of ice.
Strange coagulated liquid masses present on the surface of the planet and not previously observed in the solar system indicate that ice volcanoes were active until a relatively not-so-distant era in this dwarf planet, according to a study in the journal Nature Communications.
Images taken by NASA’s New Horizons probe showed that Pluto’s internal temperature remained higher than thought for a long enough time for these volcanoes to form.
Instead of spewing out lava, glacial volcanoes are releasing a “thick, humid mixture of water and ice, perhaps even a solid glacier-like flow,” Kelsey Singer, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado told AFP.
Singer, who co-authored the study, added that the presence of ice volcanoes on several moons in the solar system, such as Triton, was known, but Pluto’s volcanoes “look completely different from any volcanoes observed before.”
She continued, “I noticed that there are large areas of large ice volcanoes, characterized by undulating terrain on this planet located on the edge of the solar system.”
She explained that it is difficult to determine an exact date for the formation of these volcanoes, but they are likely to be “a few hundred million years or even less”, which is an almost negligible time period in a history spanning billions of years.
Scientists do not rule out the possibility of ice volcanoes still forming in the area where these blocks are located, given that they are devoid of impact craters caused by meteorites.
“These results are very important, as they indicate that a small celestial body such as Pluto is supposed to have lost most of its internal heat since then,” said Lenai Kwik, a planetary scientist specializing in glacial volcanoes from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. For a long time, it was able to store enough energy to fuel a large geological activity that occurred at a later stage in its history.
One of these volcanoes is Mount Wright, which is about five kilometers high and 150 kilometers wide.
Its size is similar to Mauna Loa in Hawaii, one of the largest volcanoes on Earth.
These ice volcanoes are formed on Pluto, although it is much smaller than Earth, it is the ninth planet in the solar system in terms of size.
The New Horizons probe, which took the pictures, is the first spacecraft that participated in the 2015 Pluto exploration process.
“We still have a lot to learn about the solar system,” says Singer.

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