Since July 2015 i.e. since the time Pluto has come into focus scientists have come to know about a range of interesting features of the dwarf planet. Now, experts at NASA are suggesting that this small planet of our solar system might also be home to ice volcanoes.
A couple of mountains close to the southern edge of Pluto’s heart-shaped plain seem to have volcano-like features. It appears that those two mountains once spewed out tons of ice onto the planet’s surface. The spotting of these suspected cryovolcanoes supports the belief that Pluto is much more active as a planet than scientists previously assumed it to be.
According to information provided by NASA, the first ice peak, which has informally been named Wright Mons is around 2 miles high while the other one called Piccard Mons stands around 3.5 miles high. Both of them are around 100 miles wide. Another similarity they carry is the prominent depression at their peaks.
NASA scientists are saying that when it comes to their appearance these formations have significant similarity with shield volcanoes like the Olympus Mons on the red planet Mars and the Hawaiian island chain on our home planet Earth.
Oliver White, a NASA scientists representing the agency’s Ames Research Center in California, said that so far scientists have never come across anything of this scale carrying a depression at its peak in any other part of the outer solar system. He added that the newly spotted formations have to be called weird irrespective of the fact whether they are ice volcanoes or something else. In fact, according to him, volcanoes are possibly the least weird theory at this moment.
This finding, like many others revealed in recent months, has come from NASA’s New Horizons mission to the dwarf planet Pluto. The month of July saw the spacecraft making a flyby of the distant tiny world. The flyby allowed the probe to gather plenty of data, a large share of which has not yet reached the Earth.
Images captured by the probe although has allowed NASA scientists to create 3D maps of the dwarf planet’s topography and locate the volcanoes, it’s not yet clear when exactly those features were active and what forced them to erupt.