Ice Volcanoes on Titan?

Infrared Image of Hotei Arcus

Infrared Image of Hotei Arcus

This infrared image, taken by Cassini during a March 27, 2009 flyby of Titan, shows a bright area of topography called “Hotei Arcus” that is believed to be active with volcanoes that ooze slushy ice rather than molten rock. Over the past four years, this area has undergone variations in brightness that indicate resurfacing activity of some sort, as well as changing amounts of ammonia frost over time. The red marks are indicators of a region that differs chemically from its surroundings.

Rainy Day

Rainy Day

Although not particularly photogenic, the image above gives us another clue to the mysteries of Titan’s surface and unique geology and weather processes. At right is a rendering by NASA artist Michael Carroll that shows a downpour in the Hotei Arcus area, flash floods of methane rainfall channeling between slushy mounds of frozen ice lava flows. You’d need more than an umbrella and galoshes to survive this 300-degree-below storm! (Source)

Read more about cryovolcanoes on Titan here, and watch a video of another suspected cryovolcanic region, Sotra Facula, below:

Main image credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona


About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on April 3, 2009, in Saturn and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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