Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Effects of Tidal-Induced Fluid Dynamics for the Moons of Jupiter and Saturn

Water on Jupiter's moons

Jupiter moon Europa likely harbors an ocean that is considered to be even larger than the Earth's ocean volume. Saturn moon Enceladus shows all the signs of a water basin underlying its South Polar Terrain (SPT) and is also thought to have a global shallow fluid layer underneath the surface ice. The most volcanically active body in the Solar System, Jupiter moon Io, must have mantle layers that partly are likely more fluid than solid.

Knowledge gap

Energy considerations indicate that tidal dissipation within those fluid layers might be as important as solid tides dissipation for the total energy budget of these objects. Still, in the vast majority of studies over the past 20 years on icy moons and Io, only solid tides are considered.

Exploring tidal-induced dynamical inviscid fluid motions

This proposal enters the largely unexplored terrain of tidal-induced dynamical inviscid fluid motions for Io and icy moons and their possible connections to surface phenomena like spatiotemporal evolving volcanism on Io and surface fault patterns on icy moons. First numerical model and laboratory experiments indicate that tidal interaction with internal oceans and seas can result in entirely different dynamical phenomena than their solid viscoelastic counterparts. The characteristic tiger-stripe pattern of Enceladus' SPT as triggered by tidal fluid wave attractors that focus energy and suspensions might be just one example of a new class of fluid tidal-dominated phenomena for the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Numerical simulations on tidal-induced fluid motions will be combined with those of solid tides, and their joint action compared with planetary mission data.

Contact prof. dr. Bert Vermeersen for more information about this project.

Project information
Linked department:
Linked centre of expertise:
Netherlands Organization for S…
1 Nov 2016 - 31 Oct 2020

Meet the team

Vermeersen, Bert
Research Leader