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Icy Volcanism in the Outer Solar System Lecture on September 16

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Jupiter's icy moon Europa. This newly-reprocessed color view was made from images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. This newly-reprocessed color view was made from images taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

Did you know that there are frozen volcanoes that spew icy particles and water vapor, instead of fiery molten rock? You’ll have to travel millions or billions of miles into the outer solar system to find icy volcanism, also known as cryovolcanism. Many of NASA’s missions to the far-reaches of our solar system have provided evidence of icy geyser eruptions in the south polar regions of Neptune’s moon Triton and Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The Galileo spacecraft and Hubble Space Telescope have also detected possible cryovolcansim on Jupiter’s moon Europa and images coming back from the New Horizons spacecraft suggest that icy volcanism might also be found in the Kuiper Belt on Pluto-Charon and in the asteroid belt on asteroids such as Ceres.

Dr. Lynnae Quick from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Planetary Geodynamics Laboratory studies these frozen faraway volcanoes that may have shaped the surfaces of distant worlds. She will present “Icy Volcanism in the Outer Solar System” on Wednesday, September 16 from 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m in the West Dining Room of the Library’s James Madison Building. In this presentation, Dr. Quick will discuss how scientists use analytical methods to model volcanic and cryovolcanic processes on the terrestrial planets and icy moons of the outer solar system. She will also share new research that sheds light on the formation of icy volcanic domes on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

If you cannot make it to the program, it will be recorded for broadcast on the Library of Congress science webcast page and on its You Tube channel “Topics in Science” playlist in the coming months.

A few years ago NASA volcanologist Dr. Ashley Davies presented a talk about terrestrial and extraterrestrial volcanoes in the program “Volcanoes: Near, Far, and Really Far Away.” You can view a recording on the Library’s webcast page or YouTube channel.

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