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Title: Experimental constraints on the chemical evolution of icy satellites

The inferred internal structure of large icy satellites hinges on the degree to which their rock component has been hydrated: this is due to the low density of hydrated silicates relative to anhydrous silicates. Accordingly, interior models of icy satellites have varied greatly in their estimates of ice thickness due to uncertainties in the density of the underlying rock. Furthermore, as both H{sub 2}O (potentially liquid) and organic materials are likely to be present, icy moons have been postulated to be possible hosts for extraterrestrial life; therefore, the stability of organic material under relevant hydrothermal conditions is an important issue. For example, Ganymede, Titan, and Triton are similar in that high pressure hydrothermal processing of silicates has likely been important in their chemical evolution. With mean densities between 1.8 and 2.1 g/cm{sup 3}, compositional models of these bodies incorporate approximately 50--80% silicate minerals by weight, with ices constituting the remaining mass. Moment of inertia constraints on the internal structure of Ganymede demonstrate that differentiation between rock and ice has occurred: such differentiation has also likely occurred in Titan and Triton. During accretion and differentiation (which could be ongoing), the silicate fraction of their interiors would have interacted with aqueous fluidsmore » at moderate to high temperatures and pressures. Indeed, a strong magnetic field appears to be generated by Ganymede implying that interior temperatures are high enough (in excess of 1,000 K) to maintain a liquid iron alloy in this satellite. High temperature/pressure hydrothermal processing at rock-water interfaces would profoundly influence the bulk mineralogy and internal structure of these bodies: the degree of hydration of the rocky fraction of these bodies has been a source of ongoing uncertainty. Surprisingly few phase equilibria data exist for compositions of relevance to hydrothermal interactions on icy satellites, and thermodynamic calculations have provided the best insights into the interiors of these bodies thus far. Interestingly, the relevant conditions for hydrothermal interactions on these satellites actually lie at higher pressures than those of hydrothermal flow through terrestrial oceanic crust. This is simply because while gravitational acceleration is considerably lower on icy satellites than on Earth, the extreme thickness of ice on these bodies (up to 1,000 km) results in correspondingly higher H{sub 2}O pressures.« less
Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
756796
Report Number(s):
UCRL-JC-137214
TRN: AH200025%%48
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 31st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Houston, TX (US), 03/13/2000--03/17/2000; Other Information: PBD: 18 Jan 2000
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Defense Programs (DP) (US)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; SOLAR SYSTEM; SATELLITES; CHEMICAL COMPOSITION; MORPHOLOGY; ICE; SOLAR SYSTEM EVOLUTION; HYDROTHERMAL ALTERATION