Mysterious deep snow covers Saturn's icy moon: how it got there

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Mysterious deep snow covers Saturn's icy moon: how did it get there

New calculations show that deposits of ice particles on Enceladus can reach a thickness of 700 meters.

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Scientists from various US universities have conducted a new study of the snow cover of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. Calculations based on measuring the size of a series of depressions on this satellite show that deposits of ice particles ejected from polar geysers can reach a depth of 700 meters in some places. Existing eruptions on Enceladus cannot explain such a phenomenon, so scientists believe that more active cryovolcanism processes took place here in the past, writes ScienceAlert.

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Enceladus is a satellite with a diameter of 500 km, which is covered with an icy shell and scientists believe that under it lies an ocean of liquid salt water. And that ocean could potentially host life yet to be discovered.

Mysterious deep snow covers Saturn's icy moon: how it got there

 Mysterious deep snow covers Saturn's icy moon: how it got there cracks. Liquid water penetrates here under pressure, which expands the cracks, after which ice particles erupt into space.</p><p>Some of these particles fly away to Saturn and support the existence of the planet's famous rings, while heavier particles fall back to the surface of Enceladus and form snowdrifts, which astronomers define as one of the forms of local regolith (that is, soil).</p><p><img decoding=

 Mysterious deep snow covers Saturn's icy moon: how it got there

Scientists already know that fissures on the moon's surface form round and elliptical pits, some of which are up to a kilometer in diameter. They appeared as a result of the expansion of cracks in the crust under loose deposits of regolith.

The width and depth of these pits can provide some information about the properties and formation of the regolith that fell here, including approximately determining its thickness. Calculations have shown that the average snow thickness here is about 250 meters, and in some places it reaches about 700 meters.

But current ice particle emissions cannot account for this amount of snow, which means scientists believe Enceladus experienced much higher snowfall rates in the past. Scientists believe that either very strong ice eruptions occurred on Saturn's moon, or there were other processes of cryovolcanism, that is, the satellite was more active in this regard. But perhaps both of these processes existed at the same time.

Mysterious deep snow covers Saturn's icy moon: how it got there

 Mysterious deep snow covers Saturn's icy moon: how it got there According to scientists, understanding how cryovolcanic activity developed on Saturn's moon provides a new understanding of the evolution of one of the most distant worlds in the solar system.</p><p><em>Focus</em> has already written about how that scientists' research shows that life can indeed exist on Enceladus.</p><p>And to detect signs of these life forms, as <em>Focus</em> already wrote, you can even without landing a spacecraft on the surface of Enceladus.</p><p> p></p><p>On how Saturn, as well as other planets of the solar system, rings appeared, <em>Focus</em> already wrote.</p><p>As for the search for extraterrestrial life on other planets, then <em>Focus</em> wrote that NASA announced a new space telescope that could detect habitable worlds.</p>  <script async src=