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Icy Jupiter Moon Shows Tectonic Activity

11 Oct 2018, 09:55 UTC
Icy Jupiter Moon Shows Tectonic Activity
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A recently published study led by researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) reveals Ganymede, an icy moon of Jupiter, appears to have undergone complex periods of geologic activity, specifically strike-slip tectonism, as is seen in Earth’s San Andreas fault. This is the first study to exhaustively consider the role of strike-slip tectonism in Ganymede’s geologic history.Plate tectonics is the process on Earth that has created many familiar large-scale features—oceanic and continental crust, mountain ranges and mid-ocean ridges—and phenomena such as earthquakes.Understanding more about the dynamic system of Jupiter’s ocean worlds allows scientists to prepare as much as possible for future missions to explore these extraterrestrial bodies. Because of the increased interest in Europa and its potential ability to host life, a new flagship mission known as Clipper is scheduled to launch between 2022 and 2025, and will make 45 close-by orbits of Europa.“The heavily fractured surface of Ganymede displays many distinctive regions of inferred strike-slip faulting that may be important to the structural development of its surface,” said study lead author Marissa E. Cameron, who completed work as a doctoral candidate in SOEST‘s Department of Earth Sciences with Associate ...

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