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Cometary Cryo-volcanism

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Michael
Belton (BSEI)

I discuss new measurements and interpretations of the properties of the repetitive outbursts and smooth terrains discovered on comet 9P/Tempel 1. I show that their properties are consistent with an origin associated with processes that occur in weakly cohesive material well below the surface of the comet. Under the assumption that CO gas released in the interior is the working fluid I construct qualitative models that could account for both phenomena and they invoke local fluidization and multiphase transport (a gas laden particulate fluid) of the material in the comet's upper layers and out to the surface. Much of this work was done in collaboration with H. J. Melosh (smooth layers) and with M.F. A'Hearn, P.D. Feldman and B. Carcich (repetitive outbursts).

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