Billings, S.E., Kattenhorn, S.A. (2005)


The great thickness debate: Ice shell thickness models for Europa and comparisons with estimates based on flexure at ridges

Icarus 177: 397-412.

Estimates of the thickness of the ice shell of Europa range from < 1 km to > 30 km. The higher values are generally assumed to be estimates of the entire ice shell thickness, which may include a lower ductile layer of ice, whereas many of the smaller thickness estimates are based on analyses that only consider that portion of the ice layer that behaves elastically at a particular strain rate. One example of the latter is flexure analysis, in which the elastic ice layer is modeled as a plate or sphere that is flexed under the weight of a surface load. We present calculations based on flexure analysis in which we model the elastic ice layer as flexing under a line-load caused by ridges. We use precisely located, parallel flanking cracks as indicators of the location of greatest tensile stress induced by flexure. Our elastic thickness results are spatially variable: ~500-2200 m (two sites) and ~200-1000 m (one site). Thorough analysis of Europan flexure studies performed by various researchers shows that the type of model selected causes the greatest variability in the thickness results, followed by the choice of Young's modulus, which is poorly constrained for the Europan ice shell. Comparing our results to those of previously published flexure analyses for Europa, we infer spatial variability in the elastic ice thickness (at the time of load emplacement), with smooth bands having the thinnest elastic ice thickness of all areas studied. Because analysis of flexure-induced fracturing can only reveal the elastic thickness at the time of load emplacement, calculated thickness variability between features having different ages may also reflect a temporal variability in the thickness of Europa's ice shell.

DOWNLOAD full article in PDF format.

External link: Science Direct



This paper has been cited in the following 54 works:

Bray, V.J., Collins, G.S., Morgan, J.V., Melosh, H.J., Schenk, P.M. 2014. Hydrocode simulation of Ganymede and Europa cratering trends - How thick is Europa's crust? ICARUS 231: 394-406.

Coyette, A., Van Hoolst, T. 2014. Slichter modes of large icy satellites. ICARUS 231: 287-299.

Hoyer, L., Kattenhorn, S.A., Watkeys, M.K. 2014. Multistage evolution and variable motion history of Agenor Linea, Europa. ICARUS 232: 60-80.

Abramov, O., Rathbun, J.A., Schmidt, B.E., Spencer, J.R. 2013. Detectability of thermal signatures associated with active formation of 'chaos terrain' on Europa. EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS 384: 37-41.

Dombard, A.J., Patterson, G.W., Lederer, A.P., Prockter, L.M. 2013. Flanking fractures and the formation of double ridges on Europa. ICARUS 223 (1): 74-81.

Hammond, N.P., Phillips, C.B., Nimmo, F., Kattenhorn, S.A. 2013. Flexure on Dione: Investigating subsurface structure and thermal history. ICARUS 223 (1): 418-422.

Schulson, E.M., 2013. Frictional sliding of cold ice: a fundamental process underlying tectonic activity within icy satellites. In: The Science of Solar System Ices, ASTROPHYSICS AND SPACE SCIENCE LIBRARY 356 (2): 171-181.

Stephan, K., Jaumann, R., Wagner, R. 2013. Geology of Icy Bodies. In: The Science of Solar System Ices: ASTROPHYSICS AND SPACE SCIENCE LIBRARY VOLUME 356, 279-367.

Van Hoolst, T., Baland, R.M., Trinh, A. 2013. On the librations and tides of large icy satellites. ICARUS 226 (1): 299-315.

Walker, C.C. 2013. Fracture of Antarctic ice shelves and implications for the icy satellites of the outer solar system. PHD DISSERTATION: University of Michigan.

Miller, T., Schaefer, R., Sequeira, H.B., 2012. PRIDE (Passive Radio [frequency] Ice Depth Experiment): An instrument to passively measure ice depth from a Europan orbiter using neutrinos. ICARUS 220 (2): 877-888.

Bannister, N.P., 2011. Communication challenges for solar system exploration missions. PROCEEDINGS OF THE INSTITUTION OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS PART G-JOURNAL OF AEROSPACE ENGINEERING 225 (G2): 213-238.

Damptz, A.L., Dombard, A.J., 2011. Time-dependent flexure of the lithospheres on the icy satellites of Jupiter and Saturn. ICARUS 216 (1): 86-88.

Lorenz, R.D., Gleeson, D., Prieto-Ballesteros, O., Gomez, F., Hand, K., Bulat, S., 2011. Analog environments for a Europa lander mission. ADVANCES IN SPACE RESEARCH 48 (4): 689-696.

Nimmo, F., Bills, B.G., Thomas, P.C., 2011. Geophysical implications of the long-wavelength topography of the Saturnian satellites. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH 116, E11001: doi:10.1029/2011JE003835.

Rambaux, N., Van Hoolst, T., Karatekin, O., 2011. Librational response of Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto with an ocean for a non-Keplerian orbit. ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS 527: article #A118.

Senft, L.E., Stewart, S.T., 2011. Modeling the morphological diversity of impact craters on icy satellites. ICARUS 214 (1): 67-81.

Solomonidou, A., Coustenis, A., Bampasidis, G., Kyriakopoulos, K., Moussas, X., Bratsolis, E., Hirtzig, M., 2011. Water oceans of Europa and other moons: Implications for life in other solar systems. JOURNAL OF COSMOLOGY 13: 4191-4211.

Baland, R.M., Van Hoolst, T., 2010. Librations of the Galilean satellites: The influence of global internal liquid layers. ICARUS 209: 651-664.

Beuthe, M., 2010. Spatial patterns of tidal heating. ICARUS 223 (1): 308-329.

Schultz, R.A., Hauber, E., Kattenhorn, S.A., Okubo, C.H., Watters, T.R., 2010. Interpretation and analysis of planetary structures. JOURNAL OF STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY 32: 855-875.

Sohl, F., Choukroun, M., Kargel, J., Kimura, J., Pappalardo, R., Vance, S., Zolotov, M., 2010. Subsurface water oceans on ice satellites: Chemical composition and exchange processes. SPACE SCIENCE REVIEWS: doi:10.1007/s11214-010-9646-y.

Tobie, G., Giese, B., Hurford, T.A., Lopes, R.M., Nimmo, F., Postberg, F., Retherford, K.D., Schmidt, J., Spencer, J.R., Tokano, T., Turtle, E.P., 2010. Surface, subsurface and atmosphere exchanges on the satellites of the outer solar system. SPACE SCIENCE REVIEWS: doi:10.1007/s11214-010-9646-y.

Zelenyi, L., Korablev, O., Vorobyova, E., Martynov, M., Akim, E.L., Zakahrov, A., 2010. Europa lander mission: A challenge to find traces of alien life. PROCEEDINGS OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL UNION 6, Symposium S269: 115-129.

Bottcher, T., Huber, L., Le Corre, L., Leitner, J., McCarthy, D., Nilsson, R., Teixeira, C., Araujo, S.V., Wilson, R.C., Adjali, F., Altenburg, M., Briani, G., Buchas, P., Le Postollec, A., Meier, T., 2009. The HADES mission concept - astrobiological survey of Jupiter's icy moon Europa. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ASTROBIOLOGY 8 (4): 321-329.

Damptz, A.L., Dombard, A.J., 2009. Time-dependent flexure on the icy satellites of Jupiter and Saturn. LUNAR AND PLANETARY SCIENCE CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS XL: #1316.

Greeley, R., Pappalardo, R.T., Prockter, L.M., Hendrix, A.R., Lock, R.E., 2009. Future exploration of Europa. In: Pappalardo, R.T., McKinnon, W.B., Khurana, K., eds, EUROPA. University of Arizona Press, 655-695.

Kattenhorn, S.A., Hurford, T.A., 2009. Tectonics of Europa. In: Pappalardo, R.T., McKinnon, W.B., Khurana, K., eds, EUROPA. University of Arizona Press, 199-236.

McKinnon, W.B., Pappalardo, R.T., Khurana, K.K., 2009. Europa: Perspectives on an ocean world. In: Pappalardo, R.T., McKinnon, W.B., Khurana, K., eds, EUROPA. University of Arizona Press, 697-710.

Moore, J.M., Black, G., Buratti, B., Phillips, C.B., Spencer, J., Sullivan, R., 2009. Surface properties, regolith, and landscape degradation. In: Pappalardo, R.T., McKinnon, W.B., Khurana, K., eds, EUROPA. University of Arizona Press, 329-349.

Nimmo, F., Manga, M., 2009. Geodynamics of Europa's icy shell. In: Pappalardo, R.T., McKinnon, W.B., Khurana, K., eds, EUROPA. University of Arizona Press, 381-404.

Orué, H.M.J., Vermeersen, L.L.A., 2009. Application of normal-modes formalism to the determination of tidal deformations and stresses at the surface of Europa. EPSC ABSTRACTS 4: 805.

Prockter, L.M., Patterson, G.W., 2009. Morphology and evolution of Europa's ridges and bands. In: Pappalardo, R.T., McKinnon, W.B., Khurana, K., eds, EUROPA. University of Arizona Press, 237-258.

Rudolph, M.L., Manga, M., 2009. Fracture penetration in planetary ice shells. ICARUS 199: 536-541.

Shapiro, R., Schulze-Makuch, D., 2009. The search for alien life in our solar system: strategies and priorities. ASTROBIOLOGY 9 (4): doi:10.1089/ast.2008.0281.

Collinson, G., 2008. Planetary penetrators: The vanguard for the future exploration of the solar system. JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH INTERPLANETARY SOCIETY 61 (6): 198-202.

Cox, R., Ong, L.C.F., Arakawa, M., Scheider, K.C., 2008. Impact penetration of Europa's ice crust as a mechanism for formation of chaos terrain. METEORITICS AND PLANETARY SCIENCE 43 (12): 2027-2048.

Dombard, A.J., 2008. Numerical simulations of the deformation of icy-satellite lithospheres. WORKSHOP ON SCIENCE OF SOLAR SYSTEM ICES, LPI CONTRIBUTION: #9015.

Han, L., Showman, A.P., 2008. Implications of shear heating and fracture zones for ridge formation on Europa. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS 35 (3), article L03202, doi:1029/2007GL031957.

Jones, S.M., Patterson, G.W., Dombard, A.J., Prockter, L.M., 2008. Characterizing flanking fractures to investigate ridge formation on Europa. LUNAR AND PLANETARY SCIENCE CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS XXXIX: #2230.

Van Hoolst, T., Rambaux, N., Karatekin, O., Dehant, V., Rivoldini, A., 2008. The librations, shape, and icy shell of Europa. ICARUS 195 (1): 386-399.

Kattenhorn, S.A., Groenleer, J.M., Marshall, S.T., Vetter, J.C., 2007. Shearing-induced tectonic deformation on icy satellites: Europa as a case study. WORKSHOP ON ICES, OCEANS, AND FIRE: SATELLITES OF THE OUTER SOLAR SYSTEM, LPI CONTRIBUTION 1357: 74-75.

Lee, S., Pappalardo, R.T., Makris, N.C., 2007. Reply to "Comment on 'Mechanics of tidally driven fractures in Europa's ice shell' ". ICARUS 189 (2): 598-599.

Manga, M., Wang, C.-Y., 2007. Pressurized oceans and the eruption of liquid water on Europa and Enceladus. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS 34 (7), article L07202, doi:10.1029/2007GL029297.

Rambaux, N., Karatekin, Ö., Van Hoolst, T., 2007. Europa's librations and ice shell thickness. In: Bouvier, J., Chalabaev, A., Charbonnel, C., eds., SF2A, Société Francaise d'Astronomie et d'Astrophysique 2007: 1-6.

Kattenhorn, S.A., Billings, S.E., Groenleer, J.M., Marshall, S.T., Vetter, J.C., 2006. Fracture access through the Europan ice shell: Geologic constraints for the selection of an optimal surface entry site. PROCEEDINGS OF THE EUROPA FOCUS GROUP WORKSHOP 5, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, Feb. 27-28, 2006: 63-64.

Kattenhorn, S.A., Marshall, S.T., 2006. Fault-induced perturbed stress fields and associated tensile and compressive deformation at fault tips in the ice shell of Europa: implications for fault mechanics. JOURNAL OF STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY 28 (12): 2204-2221.

Luttrell, K., Sandwell, D., 2006. Strength of the lithosphere of the Galilean satellites. ICARUS 183 (1): 159-167.

Panning, M., Lekic, V., Manga, M., Cammarano, F., Romanowicz, B., 2006. Long-period seismology on Europa: 2. Predicted seismic response. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH E: PLANETS 111 (12), article E12008, doi:10.1029/2006JE002712.

Ulamec, S., Biele, J., Drescher, J., Ivanov, A., 2005. A melting probe with applications on Mars, Europa and Antarctica. INTERNATIONAL ASTRONAUTICAL FEDERATION - 56th INTERNATIONAL ASTRONAUTICAL CONGRESS, Fukuoka, Japan, Oct. 17-21, 2005: 181-189.

Marshall, S.T., Kattenhorn, S.A., 2005. A revised model for cycloid growth mechanics on Europa: Evidence from surface morphologies and geometries. ICARUS 177 (2): 341-366.

Nimmo, F., Prockter, L., Schenk, P., 2005. Europa's icy shell: Past and present state, and future exploration. ICARUS 177 (2): 293-296.

Nimmo, F., Schenk, P.M., 2005. Normal faulting on Europa: implications for ice shell properties. LUNAR AND PLANETARY SCIENCE CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS XXXVI: #1264.

Nimmo, F., 2004. Stresses generated in cooling viscoelastic ice shells: Application to Europa. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH 109, article E12001, doi:10.1029/2004JE002347.