Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published November 2015 | Published + Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Spatially Resolved Spectroscopy of Europa: The Distinct Spectrum of Large-scale Chaos


We present a comprehensive analysis of spatially resolved moderate spectral resolution near-infrared spectra obtained with the adaptive optics system at the Keck Observatory. We identify three compositionally distinct end member regions: the trailing hemisphere bullseye, the leading hemisphere upper latitudes, and a third component associated with leading hemisphere chaos units. We interpret the composition of the three end member regions to be dominated by irradiation products, water ice, and evaporite deposits or salt brines, respectively. The third component is associated with geological features and distinct from the geography of irradiation, suggesting an endogenous identity. Identifying the endogenous composition is of particular interest for revealing the subsurface composition. However, its spectrum is not consistent with linear mixtures of the salt minerals previously considered relevant to Europa. The spectrum of this component is distinguished by distorted hydration features rather than distinct spectral features, indicating hydrated minerals but making unique identification difficult. In particular, it lacks features common to hydrated sulfate minerals, challenging the traditional view of an endogenous salty component dominated by Mg-sulfates. Chloride evaporite deposits are one possible alternative.

Additional Information

© 2015 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2015 July 23; accepted 2015 October 4; published 2015 November 2. This research was supported by grant 1313461 from the National Science Foundation. K. P. H. acknowledges support from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and funded in part through the internal Research and Technology Development program. The data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain.

Attached Files

Published - Fischer_2015p164.pdf

Accepted Version - 1510.07372v1.pdf


Files (7.9 MB)
Name Size Download all
2.3 MB Preview Download
5.6 MB Preview Download

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 25, 2023