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Enceladus and Europa: how does hydrothermal activity begin at the surface?

Show simple item record Matson, D. L. Castillo-Rogez, J. C. Johnson, T. V. Lunine, J. I. Davies, A. G. 2013-07-22T14:34:30Z 2013-07-22T14:34:30Z 2011-03-07
dc.identifier.citation 42 Lunar and Planetary Institute Conference, Woodlands, Texas, March 7–11, 2011 en_US
dc.identifier.clearanceno 11-0028
dc.description.abstract The question of how the surface hy-drothermal activity (e.g., eruptive plumes and heat flow) is initiated can be addressed within the frame-work of our “Perrier Ocean” model [1, 2]. This model delivers the necessary heat and chemicals to support the heat flow and plumes observed by Cassini in Enceladus’ South Polar Region [3-5]. The model employs closed-loop circulation of water from a sub-surface ocean. The ocean is the main reservoir of heat and chemicals, including dissolved gases. As ocean water moves up toward the surface, pressure is re-duced and gases exsolve forming bubbles. This bub-bly mixture is less dense than the icy crust and the buoyant ocean-water mixture rises toward the surface. Near the surface, heat and chemicals, including some volatiles, are delivered to the chambers in which plumes form and also to shallow reservoirs that keep the surface ice “warm”. (Plume operations, per se, are as described by Schmidt et al. [6] and Postberg et al. [7] and are adopted by us.) After transferring heat, the water cools, bubbles contract and dissolve, and the mixture is now relatively dense. It descends through cracks in the crust and returns to the ocean. Once the closed-loop circulation has started it is self-sustaining. Loss of water via the erupting plumes is relatively negligible compared to the amount needed to maintain the heat flow. We note that the activity described herein for the the "Perrier-Ocean" model could, a priori, apply to all small icy bodies that sheltered an interior ocean at some point in their history. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2011. en_US
dc.subject Enceladus en_US
dc.subject hydraulic pressure en_US
dc.title Enceladus and Europa: how does hydrothermal activity begin at the surface? en_US
dc.type Preprint en_US

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