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Does Europa have a subsurface ocean? Evaluation of the geological evidence

Pappalardo, R. T. and Belton, M. J. S. and Breneman, H. H. and Carr, M. H. and Chapman, C. R. and Collins, G. C. and Denk, T. and Fagents, S. and Geissler, P. E. and Giese, B. and Greeley, R. and Greenberg, R. and Head, J. W. and Helfenstein, P. and Hoppa, G. and Kadel, S. D. and Klaasen, K. P. and Klemaszewski, J. E. and Magee, K. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, USA), and McEwen, A. S. and Moore, J. M. and Moore, W. B. and Neukum, G. and Phillips, C. B. and Prockter, L. M. and Schubert, G. and Senske, D. A. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, USA), and Sullivan, R. J. and Tufts, B. R. and Turtle, E. P. and Wagner, R. and Williams, K. K. (1999) Does Europa have a subsurface ocean? Evaluation of the geological evidence. Journal of Geophysical Research, 104 (E10), 24,015-24,055.

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Abstract

It has been proposed that Jupiter's satellite Europa currently posesses a global subsurface ocean of liquid water. Galileo gravity data verify that the satellite is differentiated into an outer H2O layer about 100 km thick but cannot determine the current physical state of this layer (liquid or solid). Here we summarize the geological evidence regarding an extant subsurface ocean, concentrating on Galileo imaging data. We describe and assess nine pertinent lines of geological evidence: impact morphologies, lenticulae, cryovolcanic features, pull-apart bands, chaos, ridges, survace frosts, topography, and global tectonics. An internal ocean would be a simple and comprehensive explanation for a broad range of obserations; however, we cannot rule out the possibility that all of the surface morphologies could be due to prozesses in warm, soft ice with only localized or partial melting. Two different models of impact flux imly very different surface ages for Europa; the model favored here indicate an average age of ~ 50 Myr. Searches for evidence of current geological activity on Europa, such as plumes or surface changes, have yielded negative results to date. The current existence of global subsurface ocean, while attractive in explaining the observations, remains inconclusive. Future geophysical measurements are essential to determine conclusively whether or not there is a liquid water ocean whithin Europa today.

Document Type:Article
Additional Information: LIDO-Berichtsjahr=2000,
Title:Does Europa have a subsurface ocean? Evaluation of the geological evidence
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Pappalardo, R. T.Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
Belton, M. J. S.National Optical Astronomical Observatories, Tucson, AZ
Breneman, H. H.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, USA
Carr, M. H.US Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA, USA
Chapman, C. R.Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO, USA
Collins, G. C.Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
Denk, T.UNSPECIFIED
Fagents, S.Department of Geology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
Geissler, P. E.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Giese, B.UNSPECIFIED
Greeley, R.Department of Geology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
Greenberg, R.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Head, J. W.Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
Helfenstein, P.Center for Radiophysics and Space Reseach, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Hoppa, G.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Kadel, S. D.Department of Geology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
Klaasen, K. P.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, USA
Klemaszewski, J. E.Department of Geology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
Magee, K. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, USA), Sterling Software, Pasadena, CA, USA
McEwen, A. S.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Moore, J. M.NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, CA, USA
Moore, W. B.Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Neukum, G.UNSPECIFIED
Phillips, C. B.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Prockter, L. M.Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
Schubert, G.Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Senske, D. A. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, USA), Sterling Software, Pasadena, CA, USA
Sullivan, R. J.Center for Radiophysics and Space Reseach, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Tufts, B. R.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Turtle, E. P.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
Wagner, R.UNSPECIFIED
Williams, K. K.Department of Geology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
Date:1999
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Geophysical Research
Refereed publication:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:104
Page Range:24,015-24,055
Status:Published
Keywords:Europa, Satellites of Jupiter, Galileo
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):UNSPECIFIED
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institut für Weltraumsensorik und Planetenerkundung
Deposited By: Susanne Pieth
Deposited On:08 Dec 2005
Last Modified:14 Jan 2010 18:36

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