Patthoff, D.A., Kattenhorn, S.A. (2011)


A fracture history on Enceladus provides evidence for a global ocean.

Geophysical Research Letters 38, L18201, doi:10.1029/2011GL048387.

The region surrounding the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus shows a young, pervasively fractured surface that emanates enough heat to be detected by the Cassini spacecraft. To explain the elevated heat and eruptive icy plumes originating from large cracks (informally called "tiger stripes") in the surface, many models implicitly assume a global liquid ocean beneath the surface. Here we show that the fracture patterns in the south polar terrain (SPT) of Enceladus are inconsistent with contemporary stress fields, but instead formed in a temporally varying global stress field related to nonsynchronous rotation of a floating ice shell above a global liquid ocean. This finding increase to at least three the number of outer planet satellites likely to possess a subsurface liquid water layer.

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Supplementary materials Fig. 1 (Uninterpreted mosaic of South Polar Terrain)
Supplementary materials Fig. 2 (Close up of Damascus Sulcus)

External link: AGU Journals



This paper has been cited in the following 2 works:

Behounkova, M., Tobie, G., Choblet, G., Cadek, O. 2012. Tidally-induced melting events as the origin of south-pole activity on Enceladus. ICARUS 219 (2): 655-664.

Han, L., Tobie, G., Showman, A.P. 2012. The impact of a weak south pole on thermal convection in Enceladus' ice shell. ICARUS 218 (1): 320-330.