When ice volcanoes erupt in space, they send a curious mixture of elements into the solar system. So what is it about these elements that have scientists excited?

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

Enceladus is an icy moon revolving around Saturn. Unimaginably cold, the white orb looks very peaceful, but it’s actually home to ice volcanoes that spew frozen chunks of slushy magma at 800 miles per hour. Cryovolcanoes are similar to the ones we have on Earth; just swap out the molten lava with sub-zero water.

A cryovolcano forms when thick layers of ice get heated by gravitational forces. Then pockets of water are created under the moon’s icy shell. Pressure eventually builds in these liquid pockets, and when a crack on the surface opens, icy magma erupts. Inside the freezing magma are a mixture of carbon dioxide, water methane gas, and ammonia. These ingredients have scientists excited -- because these elements are the crucial building blocks for life.

This video, "When ice volcanoes erupt in space, they send a curious mixture of elements into the solar system. So what is it about these elements that have scientists excited?", first appeared on seeker.com.

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