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The Formation of Ganymede's Grooved Terrain

Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Bland (LPL, UA)

Ganymede's grooved terrain likely formed during an epoch of global expansion, when unstable extension of the lithosphere resulted in the development of periodic necking instabilities. Linear, infinitesimal-strain models of extensional necking support this model of groove formation. However, several questions remain unanswered, including how nonlinearities affect instability growth at large strains, and what role instabilities play in tectonically resurfacing preexisting terrain. To address these questions we numerically modeled the extension of an icy lithosphere to examine the growth of periodic necking instabilities over a broad range of strain rates and temperature gradients. I will discuss these results and their implications for groove formation on Ganymede, and throughout the solar system.

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