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Could we detect Europa-quakes?

19 Jun 2017, 14:25 UTC
Could we detect Europa-quakes?
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Title: The seismic noise environment of EuropaAuthors: Mark P. Panning, Simon C. Stähler, Hsin-Hua Huang, Steven D. Vance, Sharon Kedar, Victor Tsai, W. T. Pike, Ralph D. LorenzFirst Author’s Institution: University of FloridaStatus: Submitted to the Journal of Geophysical Research — Planets, open accessEarly images of Europa, Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon, revealed an icy surface scarred with reddish stripes. Later observations by the Galileo spacecraft of distortions of Jupiter’s magnetic field near Europa hinted at the presence of a global water ocean beneath the ice shell. But how thick is the ice shell? And just how deep is the ocean? A Europa lander equipped with a seismometer might be able to answer these questions. A seismometer measures how much the ground moves as a result of seismic activity like earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. In this paper, the authors use statistical models of seismic activity and thermodynamical models of planetary interiors to estimate the seismic noise on Europa. With these estimates, we can begin to set basic requirements for the instruments that could one day measure the seismic rumbles of Europa’s ice shell.Figure 1. An image of Europa’s surface captured by Galileo. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Europa-quakes?Europa’s orbit around Jupiter is slightly elliptical, so ...

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