Hydrothermal plume dynamics on Europa : implications for chaos formation
Goodman, Jason C.
Collins, Geoffrey C.
Marshall, John C.
Pierrehumbert, Raymond T.
MetadataShow full item record
Hydrothermal plumes may be responsible for transmitting radiogenic or tidally generated heat from Europa's rocky interior through a liquid ocean to the base of its ice shell. This process has been implicated in the formation of chaos regions and lenticulae by melting or exciting convection in the ice layer. In contrast to earlier work, we argue that Europa's ocean should be treated as an unstratified fluid. We have adapted and expanded upon existing work describing buoyant plumes in a rotating, unstratified environment. We discuss the scaling laws governing the flow and geometry of plumes on Europa and perform a laboratory experiment to obtain scaling constants and to visualize plume behavior in a Europa-like parameter regime. We predict that hydrothermal plumes on Europa are of a lateral scale (at least 25–50 km) comparable to large chaos regions; they are too broad to be responsible for the formation of individual lenticulae. Plume heat fluxes (0.1–10 W/m2) are too weak to allow complete melt-through of the ice layer. Current speeds in the plume (3–8 mm/s) are much slower than indicated by previous studies. The observed movement of ice blocks in the Conamara Chaos region is unlikely to be driven by such weak flow.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2004. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 109 (2004): E03008, doi:10.1029/2003JE002073.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Walter, Maren; Mertens, Christian; Stober, Uwe; German, Christopher R.; Yoerger, Dana R.; Sultenfuß, Jurgen; Rhein, Monika; Melchert, Bernd; Baker, Edward T. (2010-08-23)The water column imprint of the hydrothermal plume observed at the Nibelungen field (8°18' S 13°30' W) is highly variable in space and time. The off-axis location of the site, along the southern boundary of a non-transform ...
Detection of an unusually large hydrothermal event plume above the slow-spreading Carlsberg Ridge : NW Indian Ocean Murton, Bramley J.; Baker, Edward T.; Sands, Carla M.; German, Christopher R. (American Geophysical Union, 2006-05-31)About 90% of Earth's volcanism occurs along the global mid-ocean ridge system. Here, sporadic volcanic and tectonic activity is thought to cause cataclysmic release of hydrothermal fluids, forming event plumes. Each plume ...
Methane, manganese, and helium in hydrothermal plumes following volcanic eruptions on the East Pacific Rise near 9°50′N Love, Brooke A.; Resing, Joseph A.; Cowen, James P.; Lupton, John E.; Fornari, Daniel J.; Shank, Timothy M.; Biller, Dondra (American Geophysical Union, 2008-06-28)As part of a rapid response cruise in May 2006, we surveyed water column hydrothermal plumes and bottom conditions on the East Pacific Rise between 9°46.0′N and 9°57.6′N, where recent seafloor volcanic activity was suspected. ...