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Cryoclastic origin of particles on the surface of Enceladus

Degruyter, Wim ORCID: and Manga, M. 2011. Cryoclastic origin of particles on the surface of Enceladus. Geophysical Research Letters 38 (16) , L16201. 10.1029/2011GL048235

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Analogous to volcanic deposits on Earth, we can infer eruption characteristics on Enceladus from the relationship between particle size and distance from the vent. We develop a model in which ice particles feeding plumes are accelerated by the gas. We consider two cases: drag-limited and collision-limited acceleration, which link particle size to exit velocity. After being ejected at the vent, particles follow ballistic trajectories. We fit the model to observations of particle size on the surface inferred from modeled VIMS data collected by the Cassini spacecraft. We obtain a relationship between gas temperature and characteristic acceleration length, whereby lower gas temperatures require longer acceleration lengths. The model shows that the large size of particles on the surface is consistent with the size of particles observed with the CDA and VIMS instruments at heights of Cassini flybys, and the size of particles that reach escape velocity and are found in Saturn's E-ring.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
ISSN: 0094-8276
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2022 10:39

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