Is Saturn's Moon Titan Covered in Ice Volcanoes?

After the Cassini spacecraft flew by Saturn's moon Titan, scientists were left with some puzzling evidence. Flows on the moon's surface appeared to be eruptions of frozen oxygen, methane, and ammonia. Just as volcanoes on Earth spew liquid magma that cools into rock, Titan may be spewing gases that harden into ice.

This week in San Francisco, researchers at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union presented a case for Titan's cryovolcanism, which is today's awesome term of art from the world of geophysics. According to Yahoo News:

Scientists believe methane gas breaks up in the atmosphere and forms clouds that rain methane.

The source of methane remains a mystery. Scientists favoring the volcanic theory say methane eruptions from Titan's interior could explain the moon's smoggy atmosphere.

Data from the spectrometer instrument on Cassini found bright spots on two regions on Titan. In one of the regions, scientists found evidence of ammonia frost that they interpreted as coming from the interior.


You can see one of those dark spots in the image from Titan above.

[via Yahoo News]

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