Volcanism is an important process that has shaped the surfaces of the terrestrial bodies in our solar system. In addition to altering the surfaces of the terrestrial planets, volcanic processes have also modified the surfaces of planets and moons in the outer solar system. As it is most commonly known, volcanism involves the eruption of molten rock or ash. However, several of the icy moons of the giant planets show evidence of volcanism during which briny, aqueous solutions, and volatiles such as water and carbon dioxide were erupted onto their surfaces. This icy volcanism, or cryovolcanism, has shaped the surfaces of these distant worlds. Voyager 2 and Cassini imaged geyser-like eruptions in the south polar regions of Triton and Enceladus, respectively, while imagery of putative cryovolcanic features returned from the Galileo spacecraft and recent Hubble detections of putative geyser-like plumes on Europa suggest that volcanic processes may be currently occurring on the smallest Galilean satellite. Ground-based studies and imagery from NASA’s New Horizons and Dawn spacecrafts suggest that cryovolcanism may have also occurred on large Kuiper Belt Objects such as Pluto and Charon, and possibly on dwarf planet Ceres. In this talk, I will review the current state of knowledge of cryovolcanism in our solar system and present new research that will shed light on the formation of cryovolcanic domes on Jupiter’s moon Europa.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
108 Hannan Hall
Refreshments will be served at 3:45
Sponsored in part by the Graduate Student Association
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