Enceladus's gravity and shape have been explained in terms of a thick isostatic ice shell floating on a global ocean, in contradiction of the thin shell implied by librations. Here we propose a new isostatic model minimizing crustal deviatoric stress and demonstrate that gravity and shape data predict a 38 ± 4 km thick ocean beneath a 23 ± 4 km thick shell agreeing with—but independent of—libration data. Isostatic and tidal stresses are comparable in magnitude. South polar crust is only 7 ± 4 km thick, facilitating the opening of water conduits and enhancing tidal dissipation through stress concentration. Enceladus's resonant companion, Dione, is in a similar state of minimum stress isostasy. Its gravity and shape can be explained in terms of a 99 ± 23 km thick isostatic shell overlying a 65 ± 30 km thick global ocean, thus providing the first clear evidence for a present-day ocean within Dione.
Geophysical Research Letters
- Pub Date:
- October 2016
- subsurface ocean;
- Physics - Geophysics;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- Main paper: 14 pages, 4 figures