Presentation Abstract

Title Enceladus Heat Pump Model
Author Block Dennis L. Matson1, T. V. Johnson1, J. I. Lunine2, J. C. Castillo-Rogez1
1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 2Dipartimento di Fisica, Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata", Italy.
Abstract Plume gas composition and the presence of dust grains rich in sodium salts [1,2] support a subsurface liquid as the source of the plumes observed at the South pole of Enceladus. We suggest that seawater circulating from the ocean to the surface supplies water, gas, dust and heat to the plumes. Our model needs only a percent or two of gas dissolved in the ocean, a value that is very much consistent with available observations ([1] suggest 10 percent of various gas species in the plume). As seawater comes up, pressure is released and bubbles form. Bubbly seawater is less dense than ice. Expanding gas provides lifting energy (cf. [6], [7]). The model delivers the materials that Postberg et al. [2] use for plume eruptions. Popping bubbles throw a fine spray that contains salt. This aerosol exits with the plume gas [2]. Most significant is the south polar heat flow >15 GW [4]. Water-borne oceanic heat is transferred to the surface ice. Less this heat, the water becomes colder, dissolves the bubble gases and becomes dense. It returns to the ocean via cracks in the ice. A large volume of ice is accessible via cracks SO THAT chemical interactions, heat exchange and other processes are possible. [1] Waite Jr et al., Nature, 460, 487 (2009). [2] Postberg et al., Nature, 459, 1098 (2009). [4] Howett et al BAAS., 41, 1122 (2009). [6] Crawford, and Stevenson, Icarus, 73, 66 (1988). [7] Murchie, and Head, LPS XVII, 583 (1986). This work was conducted at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under NASA contract, and for JIL under "Incentivazione alla mobilita' di studiosi straineri e italiani residenti all'estero" of Italy.



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42nd DPS Program published in BAAS volume 42 #4, 2010.