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Cryovolcanism on Europa: Heat Transfer, Composition, and Associated Surface Features

Monday, July 27, 2015
Dr. Lynnae C.

Volcanism as it is most commonly known involves the eruption of hot, molten rock. However several moons in the outer solar system exhibit icy volcanism, during which briny, aqueous solutions, and volatiles such as water or methane, are erupted instead. This icy volcanism, or cryovolcanism, has shaped the surfaces of these distant worlds. Previous missions imaged geyser-like eruptions in the south polar regions of Neptune's moon Triton and Saturn's moon Enceladus, while images from the Galileo spacecraft and data recently returned by the Hubble Space Telescope reveal cryovolcanic features and possible detections of geyser-like plumes on Jupiter's moon Europa. In this talk, I will provide an overview of cryovolcanism in our solar system and present recent results from analytical modeling that shed light on the dynamics, composition, and heat transfer of icy magmas ascending from Europa’s interior to the surface, and the subsequent formation of cryovolcanic domes on the icy moon.

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