Tidal origin of the Laplace resonance and the resurfacing of Ganymede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

I present a new scenario for the tidal origin of the Laplace resonance. The inner three Galilean satellites are supposed to have formed in orbits well away from the 2/1 pair-wise mean motion commensurabilities and the three body Laplace resonance. The dynamics is controlled by the evolution of the 2/1 critical frequencies, ω1 = 2n2 - n1 and ω2 = 2n3 - n2, where n1, n2, n3 are the mean motions of Io, Europa, and Ganymede. I show that the Laplace relation, ω1 = ω2, may have been established from within a previous three body resonance defined by ω1 ω2 ≈ 1 2. The ω1 ω2 ≈ 1 2 resonance would have excited Ganymede's orbital eccentricity to a high value. The attendant enhanced tidal heating in Ganymede during that high eccentricity period provides a possible explanation for the geologically younger surface of Ganymede compared to that of its "twin satellite," Callisto. The extent of orbital evolution required for this scenario is easily accomodated by values of QJ of several times 105.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-412
Number of pages14
JournalIcarus
Volume94
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

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Ganymede
eccentricity
Callisto
Galilean satellites
orbitals
Europa
Io
critical frequencies
heating
orbits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Tidal origin of the Laplace resonance and the resurfacing of Ganymede. / Malhotra, Renu.

In: Icarus, Vol. 94, No. 2, 1991, p. 399-412.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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