Geologic Landforms and Processes on Icy Satellites

  • Paul M. Schenk
  • Jeffrey M. Moore
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 227)


During the first reconaissence of the satellites of the outer solar system conducted by the Voyager missions (1979–1989), a surprising diversity of unusual geologic landforms were observed, in some cases with bewildering complexity (e.g., Triton). Impact features were certainly expected but the variety of volcanic, diapiric, tectonic, impact, and erosional landforms was only remotely suggested by some early theoretical works. These diagnostic features are manifestations of the internal composition, thermal history, and dynamical evolution of these bodies. It is the job of the geologist to interpret the morphology, stratigraphy, and composition of these deposits and structures to ascertain what materials were mobilized in the interior, in what amount, and the mechanism and cause of their mobilization. In this chapter, we review what is know about these features and what constraints can be placed on composition and thermal history. Particular emphasis is placed on volcanic features, as these are most directly related to satellite composition and thermal history.


Impact Crater Lunar Planet Galilean Satellite Outer Solar System Saturnian Satellite 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul M. Schenk
    • 1
  • Jeffrey M. Moore
    • 2
  1. 1.Lunar and Planetary InstituteHoustonUSA
  2. 2.NASA Ames Research CenterMoffett FieldUSA

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