The occurrence for plate tectonics on Jupiter’s ocean nurturing moon Europa keeps getting interesting. Scientists have already dappled geological signs that plates inside the moon’s ice shell may be plunging beneath one another on the way to the moon’s concealed ocean.
Now a recent study has revealed that such “subduction” can indeed occur on Europa and displays how the occurrence might be taking place. The novel findings should fascinate astrobiologists or for that matter anybody else who desires that Earth isn’t the solely populated world in our Solar System.
Study lead author Brandon Johnson, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown University in Rhode Island, said in a statement that if there is an evidence of life in that ocean then subduction provides a method to contribute the nourishment it would require.
Such nourishment encompasses oxidants; electron-stripping materials are customary on Europa’s surface and that could assist offer an energy source for life. On Earth subduction is propelled predominantly by temperature differentiation between comparatively cool rocky planets and extremely hot encompassing mantle. Thermal gradients can’t be the main propeller on Europa. However, ice plates would warm up speedily balancing out the temperature of the ice underneath.
That does not signify subduction cannot be taking place on the Jovian moon, Johnson and his colleagues found. Their computer model indicate that European ice plates can indeed dive – if they prove to be salty than their background.
Appending salt to an ice slab would be like adding weights to it as salt are denser than ice. So preferably instead of temperature the contrast in the salt proportion of the ice could accredit subduction to take place on Europa, Johnson said.