Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stretching forces shaped Jupiter moon's surface, laboratory model suggests

Date:
July 8, 2014
Source:
Southwest Research Institute
Summary:
Processes that shaped the ridges and troughs on the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Ganymede are likely similar to tectonic processes seen on Earth, according to a team of researchers. To arrive at this conclusion, the team subjected physical models made of clay to stretching forces that simulate tectonic action.

An image of a tabletop-size analog model (left) shows details of fault systems created by extension that visually match an image by spacecraft Galileo of faulted terrain on Ganymede (right).
Credit: Image courtesy of Southwest Research Institute

Processes that shaped the ridges and troughs on the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Ganymede are likely similar to tectonic processes seen on Earth, according to a team of researchers led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). To arrive at this conclusion, the team subjected physical models made of clay to stretching forces that simulate tectonic action. The results were published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Physical analog models simulate geologic structures in laboratory settings so that the developmental sequence of various phenomena can be studied as they occur. The team -- including researchers from SwRI, Wheaton College, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NuStar Energy LP -- created complex patterns of faults in their models, similar to the ridge and trough features seen in some regions of Ganymede. The models consisted of a "wet clay cake" material possessing brittle characteristics to simulate how the icy moon's lithosphere, the outermost solid shell, responds to stresses by cracking.

The laboratory models suggest that characteristic patterns of ridges and troughs, called grooved terrain on Ganymede, result from its surface being stretched. "The physical models showed a marked similarity to the surface features observed on Ganymede," said co-author Dr. Danielle Wyrick, a senior research scientist in the SwRI Space Science and Engineering Division. "From the experiments, it appears that a process in which the crust breaks into separate blocks by large amounts of extension is the primary mechanism for creating these distinct features."

"Physical analog modeling allows us to simulate the formation of complex three-dimensional geologic structures on Ganymede, without actually going to Ganymede," said co-author Dr. David Ferrill, director of the Earth, Material and Planetary Sciences Department in the SwRI Geosciences and Engineering Division. "These scaled models are able to reproduce the fine geometric details of geologic processes, such as faulting, and to develop and test hypotheses for landscape evolution on planetary bodies."

SwRI researchers previously have used physical analog models to examine the process by which pit crater chains -- a series of linear pits, or depressions -- develop on Mars, and how magma in the Martian subsurface deforms the surface of the Red Planet.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Southwest Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Darrell W. Sims, Danielle Y. Wyrick, David A. Ferrill, Alan P. Morris, Geoffrey C. Collins, Robert T. Pappalardo, Shannon L. Colton. Physical models of grooved terrain tectonics on Ganymede. Geophysical Research Letters, 2014; 41 (11): 3774 DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060359

Cite This Page:

Southwest Research Institute. "Stretching forces shaped Jupiter moon's surface, laboratory model suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708131825.htm>.
Southwest Research Institute. (2014, July 8). Stretching forces shaped Jupiter moon's surface, laboratory model suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708131825.htm
Southwest Research Institute. "Stretching forces shaped Jupiter moon's surface, laboratory model suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708131825.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

AP (July 23, 2014) The Progress 56 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday. NASA says it will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins