Europa’s Interior May Be Hot Enough to Fuel Seafloor Volcanoes

Europa Clipper in orbit around Europa. (Credit: NASA)

Jupiter’s moon Europa has an icy crust covering a vast, global ocean. The rocky layer underneath may be hot enough to melt, leading to undersea volcanoes.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — New research and computer modeling show that volcanic activity may have occurred on the seafloor of Jupiter’s moon Europa in the recent past – and may still be happening. NASA’s upcoming Europa Clipper mission, targeting a 2024 launch, will swoop close to the icy moon and collect measurements that may shed light on the recent findings.

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Scientists Discover Volcanoes on Venus Are Still Active

The 3D rendition above shows two coronae observed on the surface of Venus. The ring-like structures are formed when hot material from deep inside the planet rises through the mantle and erupts through the crust. Research by UMD’s Laurent Montesi found that at least 37 coronae on Venus represent recent geologic activity, including the one named Aramaiti, seen on the left in this image. The black line represents a gap in data. (Credit: Laurent Montési)

New 3D model provides evidence that Venus is churning inside

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (University of Maryland PR) — A new study identified 37 recently active volcanic structures on Venus. The study provides some of the best evidence yet that Venus is still a geologically active planet. A research paper on the work, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland and the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, was published in the journal Nature Geoscience on July 20, 2020.

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Evidence for Volcanic Craters on Saturn’s Moon Titan

This image compares nested, multi-collapse craters on Titan (upper left), Mars (upper right), and two on Earth (below). (Credit: Planetary Science Institute)

TUCSON, Ariz. (PSI PR) — Volcano-like features seen in polar regions of Saturn’s moon Titan by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft could be evidence of explosive eruptions that may continue today, according to a new paper by Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Charles A. Wood and coauthor Jani Radebaugh of Brigham Young University.

Morphological features such as nested collapses, elevated ramparts, halos, and islands indicate that some of the abundant small depressions in the north polar region of Titan are volcanic collapse craters, according to “Morphologic Evidence for Volcanic Craters near Titan’s North Polar Region” (https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JE006036) that appears in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. A few similar depressions occur near the south pole of Titan. 

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Asteroid Impact, not Volcanic Eruptions, Killed the Dinosaurs

Nannoplankton fossils next to a deep-sea sediment section drilled from the North Atlantic. (Credit: Professor Paul Bown)

LONDON (University College London PR) — Volcanic activity did not play a direct role in the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs and about 75 per cent of Earth’s species 66 million years ago, according to a team involving UCL and University of Southampton researchers.

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