Do Ice volcanoes exist

Ice volcanoes form during winter months and are found on the lakes. Ice volcano is commonly observed in the Lake Superior during winter months. Ice shelf starts building into the lake with cones formation at the leading edge in the lake. Strong winds hitting onshore drive the waves that hits the bottom to develop and break on the ice shelf. As the ice shelf reaches its maximum build waves travel beneath the ice and move with force through the preformed cones and cracks.

Ice volcanoes need certain conditions to be satisfied before they are formed. High tidal waves presence is required in the area. Intensity of the eruption is determined by the height of the wave and the direction of the wave. Cones are difficult to form if the amplitude of the waves is less than one meter. Heavy onshore winds triggered by storms and squalls with required wave height and direction produce active eruption. It should be noted that cone formation requires heavy onshore winds with high tidal waves with the ideal height and direction and not all heavy onshore winds trigger waves required for cone formation. Lake Surface must have conducing temperature and surface to support ice formation. Atmospheric temperature must be well below freezing point. Higher temperatures degrade the cone during eruption.

Ice volcanoes formation is supported by the high waves hitting the leading edge of the ice shelf with energy concentrated on small valleys. Lake Floor with geomorphologic features of shoreline, sand bar and rock reef support the cone formation of an ice volcano. Ice chunks and spatter caused by the wave hitting the shoreline bottom raise the ice shelf on the shoreline. Irregularities in the edge of the ice shelf create larger waves and taller spewing of spatter forming the foundation for ice volcanoes. Sand bars have deeper water around them than the shore lines and form larger cones due to increased energy in the breaking waves and coalescent collection of spatter on the ice sheet. Rock reefs extend the functionality of the leading irregular edge of an ice shelf. Irregularities of the rock reefs accentuate the energy of the waves to heighten the ice volcano cone formation.

Ice volcanoes have been found in the range of one to ten meters high measuring from base to peak. High energy waves create the largest ice volcanoes. Breached ice volcanoes are the cones occurring in the leading edge of the ice shelf breaching in the direction of the lake. Unbreached ice volcanoes are formed by the eruptions occurring towards the land from the ice shelf.  Ice volcanoes occur in groups in the form of arcs mostly even spaced though random spacing is not uncommon and formation is influenced by the rock reefs, shorelines or the sand bars that caused the ice volcanoes to build up.

Study of existence of life in other planets has always been curiosity factor and a subject of interest. Emergence of life is attributed to presence of complex organic molecules on the Earth and these complex organic molecules are called Prebiotic. Titan is the largest moon of the planet Saturn and made of ice to a majority extent. Portion of ice may melt due to underground changes and impacts of terrestrial objects creating ice volcanoes emitting lava of water containing ammonia. Research is being done on the possibility of life in Titan by studying the process of evolution through linking of ice volcanoes to their impacts by meteors.

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