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Mobilization of cryogenic ice in outer Solar System satellites

Stevenson, David J. and Lunine, Jonathan I. (1986) Mobilization of cryogenic ice in outer Solar System satellites. Nature, 323 (6083). p. 46. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/323046a0.

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Voyager images of the uranian satellites show a diversity of geological features, including clear evidence for the ‘softening’ and mobilization of ice on Miranda and Ariel. Some of these features are similar to those seen on jovian and saturnian satellites, where the mobile material is believed to be water or a water–ammonia mixture. However, the extremely low temperatures and probable unavailability of large energy sources within the uranian satellites lead us to consider flow mechanisms that operate at very low temperature (T ≤ 100 K). We propose here a form of pressure-solution creep, in which very fine-grained water ice or clathrate hydrate is mobilized by a small amount of intergranular cryogenic fluid (CH_4, CO or N_2). Viscosities as low as 10^(12) P are possible for a limited time, sufficient to allow flooding of rift valleys and perhaps even substantial lateral flows (glaciers).

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Stevenson, David J.0000-0001-9432-7159
Lunine, Jonathan I.0000-0003-2279-4131
Additional Information:© 1986 Nature Publishing Group. Received 10 April; accepted 29 May 1986. This work was supported by NASA grant NAGW 185 and NSF grant AST8206173. Contribution 4323 from the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
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Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences 4323
Issue or Number:6083
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140311-135406639
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Official Citation:Mobilization of cryogenic ice in outer Solar System satellites 46-48 David J. Stevenson & Jonathan I. Lunine doi:10.1038/323046a0
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:44252
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:11 Mar 2014 21:30
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:49

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