How are cryovolcanoes different to magma volcanoes?

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Offline thedoc

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I heard recently that there may be cryovolcanoes on Pluto.  This was explained to me as ice-volcanoes where instead of magma, molten rock, there is water. But what is the difference between ice and rock? Ice is frozen water.... Rock is frozen magma. Right? Is there a fundamental difference?
Asked by Amanda Adams


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[chapter podcast=1001386 track=16.07.05/Naked_Scientists_Show_16.07.05_1005375.mp3]  ...or Listen to the Answer[/chapter] or [download as MP3]

« Last Edit: 11/07/2016 11:55:48 by _system »

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Offline evan_au

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Re: How are cryovolcanoes different to magma volcanoes?
« Reply #1 on: 19/01/2016 09:39:10 »
Exploding plumes of material (a volcano) relies on material which is heated sufficiently to turn into a liquid and/or gas, but then cools down into a solid, close to the source.

Farther from the Sun, it gets much colder, and different substances can be in this solid/liquid/gas zone.

So the main difference between volcanoes and cryovolcanoes is how hot (or cold) the liquid is.
  • Earth has many active magma volcanoes;
  • Venus shows the marks of more volcanoes than Earth
  • Olympus Mons on Mars is a massive shield volcano
  • Earth has water volcanoes - we call them geysers. But in most places on Earth, the water will remain liquid and run away, or evaporate, rather than forming an ice mountain.
  • Jupiter's moon Io has volcanoes spewing lava and clouds of sulphur over 100km into space, before falling down and solidifying on the surface.
  • Saturn's moon Enceladus has plumes of water vapor streaming from tiger stripes at the south pole. Much of this water ends up in Saturn's rings, rather than building a mound on the surface.
  • Neptune's moon Triton has volcanoes of water and ammonia
  • Pluto's cryovolcanoes are thought to be powered by liquid nitrogen or ammonia.
  • Comets have gasses such as water, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide exploding from vents on the surface as they approach the Sun. But because the comet has virtually no gravity, they keep going, and are lost to the comet's tail.
Look for volcanoes as "tectonic" or "cryovolcano" here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_mountains_in_the_Solar_System

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Offline thedoc

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Hear the answer to this question on our show
« Reply #2 on: 11/07/2016 11:55:48 »
We discussed this question on our  show







Chris Smith put this to Professor Marian Holness, geologist from the University of Cambridge...







[Transcript to follow]







Click to visit the show page for the podcast in which this question is answered. Alternatively, [chapter podcast=1001386 track=16.07.05/Naked_Scientists_Show_16.07.05_1005375.mp3] listen to the answer now[/chapter] or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 11/07/2016 11:55:48 by _system »