Convection in a volatile nitrogen-ice-rich layer drives Pluto's geological vigour.

  title={Convection in a volatile nitrogen-ice-rich layer drives Pluto's geological vigour.},
  author={William B. McKinnon and Francis Nimmo and Teresa Wong and Paul M. Schenk and Oliver L. White and J. H. Roberts and J. M. Moore and John R. Spencer and Alan D. Howard and Orkan M. Umurhan and S. Alan Stern and H. Weaver and Cathy B. Olkin and Leslie A. Young and K. Ennico Smith},
  volume={534 7605},
The vast, deep, volatile-ice-filled basin informally named Sputnik Planum is central to Pluto's vigorous geological activity. Composed of molecular nitrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide ices, but dominated by nitrogen ice, this layer is organized into cells or polygons, typically about 10 to 40 kilometres across, that resemble the surface manifestation of solid-state convection. Here we report, on the basis of available rheological measurements, that solid layers of nitrogen ice with a… 
Sublimation-driven convection in Sputnik Planitia on Pluto.
It is found that sublimation-driven convection readily produces the observed polygonal structures if the authors assume a smaller heat flux at the base of the ice layer than the commonly accepted value of 2-3 mW’m-2 (ref. 7).
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Jupiter's moon Europa is thought to have an ocean beneath its ice shell and the habitability of the internal ocean depends on the availability of redox gradients. Downward transport of radiolytic
Geodynamics of Pluto
  • F. Nimmo
  • Geology, Environmental Science
  • 2019
In this article we summarize our understanding of Pluto’s internal structure and evolution following the New Horizons mission. Pluto’s density implies it is roughly 70% rock and 30% ice by mass,
Can Triton's Internal Heat Be Inferred From Its Ice Cap?
  • M. Sori
  • Geology, Physics
    Geophysical Research Letters
  • 2021
Neptune's moon Triton is among the Solar System's most geologically active bodies, allowing for study of its internal dynamics through surface features. Here, I consider whether the unusually great


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Observations of Enceladus by the Cassini spacecraft indicate that this tiny Saturnian moon is geologically active, with plumes of water vapor and ice particles erupting from its southern polar
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[1] The viscosity of ice I is grain size dependent for temperature and stress conditions appropriate for ice I shells and mantles of large and midsized icy satellites. Satellite thermal evolution,
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Laboratory measurements of physical properties of planetary ices generate information for dynamical models of tectonically active icy bodies in the outer solar system. We review the methods for
Thickness constraints on the icy shells of the galilean satellites from a comparison of crater shapes
Measurements of depths of impact craters on Europa, Ganymede and Callisto are presented that reveal two anomalous transitions in crater shape with diameter, which constrains Europa's icy shell to be at least 19 km thick.
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Numerical simulations of convection with strongly temperature‐dependent viscosity suggest that non‐Newtonian viscosity convection (dislocation creep) passes through three convective regimes similar
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A synthesis of laboratory studies and geophysical and geological observations shows that transitions between diffusion and dislocation creep likely occur in the Earth's upper mantle.
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The New Horizons team presents the complex surface features and geology of Pluto and its large moon Charon, including evidence of tectonics, glacial flow, and possible cryovolcanoes, and their analysis of the encounter data downloaded so far.