Material transport across Europa's ice shell

Divya Allu Peddinti, Allen K. McNamara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Jupiter's moon Europa exhibits a deformed icy surface with salt deposits concentrated along the varied geological features. The topographic alignment of salt deposits has been speculated to indicate an endogenic sourcing of the material. Two-way transport of salts from a liquid-water ocean beneath the ice shell to the surface, and vice versa, has been speculated. We present dynamical models that demonstrate the incorporation of newly frozen ice into convective plumes within the ice shell, caused by convection within the ice shell that drives dynamic topography along the ice-ocean boundary. The new ice that forms at the freezing front can be transported by the rising ice plumes toward the surface until it is blocked by a high-viscosity lid at the surface. Weakening of the lid by tidal or tectonic forces could then lead to the surface detection of ocean trace chemistry captured in the newly formed ice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4288-4293
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume42
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 16 2015

Keywords

  • convection
  • Europa
  • geodynamics
  • ice-ocean system
  • icy satellites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Geophysics

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