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Tidally Induced Volcanism

Abstract

The dissipation of tidal energy causes the ongoing silicate volcanism on Jupiter's satellite, Io, and cryovolcanism almost certainly has resurfaced parts of Saturn's satellite, Enceladus, at various epochs distributed over the latter's history. The maintenance of tidal dissipation in Io and the occurrence of the same on Enceladus depends crucially on the maintenance of the respective orbital eccentricities by the existence of mean motion resonances with nearby satellites. A formation of the resonances among the Galilean satellites by differential expansion of the satellite orbits from tides raised on Jupiter by the satellites means the onset of the volcanism on Io could be relatively recent. If, on the other hand, the resonances formed by differential migration from resonant interactions of the satellites with the disk of gas and particles from which they formed, Io would have been at least intermittently volcanically active throughout its history. Either means of assembling the Galilean satellite resonances lead to the same constraint on the dissipation function of Jupiter Q J ≲ 106, where the currently high heat flux from Io seems to favor episodic heating as Io's eccentricity periodically increases and decreases. Either of the two models might account for sufficient tidal dissipation in the icy satellite Enceladus to cause at least occasional cryovolcanism over much of its history. However, both models are assumption-dependent and not secure, so uncertainty remains on how tidal dissipation resurfaced Enceladus.

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Peale, S.J. Tidally Induced Volcanism. Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy 87, 129–155 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026187917994

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026187917994

  • Galilean satellites
  • G Io
  • volcanism
  • tidal effects
  • Enceladus
  • E-ring