A melt-through model for chaos formation on Europa

David P. O'Brien, Paul Geissler, Richard J. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The character of chaotic terrain on Europa is consistent with its formation by the melting of a thin conducting ice shell from below. Tidal dissipation can provide adequate energy for such a process. For example, only a few percent of Europa's predicted tidal heat, spread over a region 200 km in diameter, can lead to large melt regions within a few tens of thousands of years. Stronger, more localized concentrations result in melt-through in significantly shorter times (i.e., a few hundred years). The time scale for melt-through is shorter than the time scale for the solid-state viscous inflow of ice by several orders of magnitude. In general, modest concentrations of tidal heat can melt ice away faster than viscous inflow, leading to melt-through. A mechanism to transmit these heat concentrations through the ocean is required for this model. Such heat transport could be the result of convective plumes in the ocean driven by seafloor volcanism or by the destabilization of a stratified ocean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-161
Number of pages10
JournalIcarus
Volume156
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Fingerprint

Europa
chaotic dynamics
chaos
melt
heat
oceans
ice
inflow
ocean
destabilization
timescale
plumes
dissipation
melting
volcanism
solid state
conduction
seafloor
plume
shell

Keywords

  • Europa
  • Satellites
  • Satellites of Jupiter
  • Surfaces
  • Thermal histories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

A melt-through model for chaos formation on Europa. / O'Brien, David P.; Geissler, Paul; Greenberg, Richard J.

In: Icarus, Vol. 156, No. 1, 2002, p. 152-161.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

O'Brien, David P. ; Geissler, Paul ; Greenberg, Richard J. / A melt-through model for chaos formation on Europa. In: Icarus. 2002 ; Vol. 156, No. 1. pp. 152-161.
@article{ef3688d9042c40fabb0f249e63a5d6f8,
title = "A melt-through model for chaos formation on Europa",
abstract = "The character of chaotic terrain on Europa is consistent with its formation by the melting of a thin conducting ice shell from below. Tidal dissipation can provide adequate energy for such a process. For example, only a few percent of Europa's predicted tidal heat, spread over a region 200 km in diameter, can lead to large melt regions within a few tens of thousands of years. Stronger, more localized concentrations result in melt-through in significantly shorter times (i.e., a few hundred years). The time scale for melt-through is shorter than the time scale for the solid-state viscous inflow of ice by several orders of magnitude. In general, modest concentrations of tidal heat can melt ice away faster than viscous inflow, leading to melt-through. A mechanism to transmit these heat concentrations through the ocean is required for this model. Such heat transport could be the result of convective plumes in the ocean driven by seafloor volcanism or by the destabilization of a stratified ocean.",
keywords = "Europa, Satellites, Satellites of Jupiter, Surfaces, Thermal histories",
author = "O'Brien, {David P.} and Paul Geissler and Greenberg, {Richard J.}",
year = "2002",
doi = "10.1006/icar.2001.6777",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "156",
pages = "152--161",
journal = "Icarus",
issn = "0019-1035",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - A melt-through model for chaos formation on Europa

AU - O'Brien, David P.

AU - Geissler, Paul

AU - Greenberg, Richard J.

PY - 2002

Y1 - 2002

N2 - The character of chaotic terrain on Europa is consistent with its formation by the melting of a thin conducting ice shell from below. Tidal dissipation can provide adequate energy for such a process. For example, only a few percent of Europa's predicted tidal heat, spread over a region 200 km in diameter, can lead to large melt regions within a few tens of thousands of years. Stronger, more localized concentrations result in melt-through in significantly shorter times (i.e., a few hundred years). The time scale for melt-through is shorter than the time scale for the solid-state viscous inflow of ice by several orders of magnitude. In general, modest concentrations of tidal heat can melt ice away faster than viscous inflow, leading to melt-through. A mechanism to transmit these heat concentrations through the ocean is required for this model. Such heat transport could be the result of convective plumes in the ocean driven by seafloor volcanism or by the destabilization of a stratified ocean.

AB - The character of chaotic terrain on Europa is consistent with its formation by the melting of a thin conducting ice shell from below. Tidal dissipation can provide adequate energy for such a process. For example, only a few percent of Europa's predicted tidal heat, spread over a region 200 km in diameter, can lead to large melt regions within a few tens of thousands of years. Stronger, more localized concentrations result in melt-through in significantly shorter times (i.e., a few hundred years). The time scale for melt-through is shorter than the time scale for the solid-state viscous inflow of ice by several orders of magnitude. In general, modest concentrations of tidal heat can melt ice away faster than viscous inflow, leading to melt-through. A mechanism to transmit these heat concentrations through the ocean is required for this model. Such heat transport could be the result of convective plumes in the ocean driven by seafloor volcanism or by the destabilization of a stratified ocean.

KW - Europa

KW - Satellites

KW - Satellites of Jupiter

KW - Surfaces

KW - Thermal histories

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0036264793&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0036264793&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1006/icar.2001.6777

DO - 10.1006/icar.2001.6777

M3 - Article

VL - 156

SP - 152

EP - 161

JO - Icarus

JF - Icarus

SN - 0019-1035

IS - 1

ER -