Geodynamics of Icy Satellites


Friday, January 18 2008 - 12:00 pm, PST
Francis Nimmo

There are at least 37 objects in this solar system with masses greater than 1020 kg, two thirds of which have surfaces made primarily of water ice. The handful of icy bodies studied by spacecraft have revealed an enormous diversity of bizarre and unanticipated features, from geysers on Triton and Enceladus, to the peculiar shapes of Iapetus and 2003 EL61. I will discuss three aspects of icy body geodynamics: using surface observations to constrain their thermal evolution; the role of tidal heating; and their potential to undergo reorientation. 

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