\ KREYE-oh-vahl-cayn-oh \ n.
USGS Astrogeology Science Center
An ice volcano that erupts slurries of volatile compounds such as water or methane instead of lava. Cryovolcanoes are thought to occur in the solar system’s frozen places, such as Saturn’s largest moon Titan, where such volcanoes may spew liquid from an ocean hidden in the moon’s interior.
On Titan’s frigid surface, astronomers have spotted formations (above) that resemble volcanic features on Earth, such as lava flows and craters. Data captured by the Cassini spacecraft from 2005 to 2009 revealed changes in surface brightness in regions with these structures, a sign of ongoing cryovolcanism on Titan, Anezina Solomonidou of the Paris Observatory reported in September in London at the European Planetary Science Congress.
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