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A Numerical Model for the Differentiation of Enceladus

Ziethe, R. and Sohl, F. (2007) A Numerical Model for the Differentiation of Enceladus. 4th General Assembly European Geosciences Union, 2007-04-15 - 2007-04-20, Vienna (Austria).

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The past close encounters of the CASSINI spacecraft in the Saturnian system have provided unprecedented insight into the geodynamics of small and mid-sized icy satellites. The newly determined average density and equilibrium shape of the most enigmatic satellite Enceladus implies that its interior is composed of ice and rock at nearly equal shares and at least partially differentiated. Characteristic features at the surface of Enceladus further suggest that this satellite has been geologically active during the recent past. Gaseous plumes of water vapor and nitrogen as recently observed by the Cassini spacecraft indicate that Enceladus is still active even at the present time. In the present study, we consider a plausible range of interior structure models that satisfy Enceladus’ average density to investigate under which conditions early and/or late differentiation could have run to completion. Our 2D-finite-element numerical model describes viscous Stokes flow and simulates the sinking of numerous rock particles through viscous water ice. The model aims at determining the timescales at which the internal differentiation of small and mid-sized icy bodies would proceed. Depending on rheology or particle size we found a wide range of possible differentiation times for Enceladus. Corresponding to recent convection models, which may explain the heat source for the plume activity, or tidal dissipation models, we can constrain our model variety.

Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Title:A Numerical Model for the Differentiation of Enceladus
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Ziethe, R.Physikalisches Institut, University of Berne, Sidlerstr.5 CH - 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Date:April 2007
Refereed publication:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Page Range:EGU2007-A-02136
Series Name:Geophys. Res. Abstr. (CD-ROM)
Keywords:Enceladus, differentiation
Event Title:4th General Assembly European Geosciences Union
Event Location:Vienna (Austria)
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:2007-04-15 - 2007-04-20
Organizer:European Geosciences Union
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):W - Vorhaben Vergleichende Planetologie (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Physics
Deposited By: Stefanie Musiol
Deposited On:01 Oct 2007
Last Modified:27 Apr 2009 14:21

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