skip to main content

Title: How the geysers, tidal stresses, and thermal emission across the south polar terrain of enceladus are related

We present the first comprehensive examination of the geysering, tidal stresses, and anomalous thermal emission across the south pole of Enceladus and discuss the implications for the moon's thermal history and interior structure. A 6.5 yr survey of the moon's south polar terrain (SPT) by the Cassini imaging experiment has located ∼100 jets or geysers erupting from four prominent fractures crossing the region. Comparing these results with predictions of diurnally varying tidal stresses and with Cassini low resolution thermal maps shows that all three phenomena are spatially correlated. The coincidence of individual jets with very small (∼10 m) hot spots detected in high resolution Cassini VIMS data strongly suggests that the heat accompanying the geysers is not produced by shearing in the upper brittle layer but rather is transported, in the form of latent heat, from a sub-ice-shell sea of liquid water, with vapor condensing on the near-surface walls of the fractures. Normal stresses modulate the geysering activity, as shown in the accompanying paper; we demonstrate here they are capable of opening water-filled cracks all the way down to the sea. If Enceladus' eccentricity and heat production are in steady state today, the currently erupting material and anomalous heat mustmore » have been produced in an earlier epoch. If regional tidal heating is occurring today, it may be responsible for some of the erupting water and heat. Future Cassini observations may settle the question.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. CICLOPS, Space Science Institute, 4750 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO 80304 (United States)
  2. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22342268
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astronomical Journal (New York, N.Y. Online); Journal Volume: 148; Journal Issue: 3; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; CRACKS; EMISSION; FORECASTING; FRACTURES; GEYSERS; HEAT; HEATING; HOT SPOTS; ICE; LIQUIDS; MOON; PLANETS; RESOLUTION; STEADY-STATE CONDITIONS; STRESSES; SURFACES; WATER