Heat flow and depth to a possible internal ocean on Triton



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Ruiz Pérez, Javier (2003) Heat flow and depth to a possible internal ocean on Triton. Icarus (New York, N.Y. 1991) , 166 . pp. 436-439. ISSN 1054-1381

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Official URL: http://icarus.cornell.edu/journal/


The Raz Fossae, a pair of ≈ 15-km wide trough en echelon interpreted as grabens, can be used to propose an estimation of the depth to the brittle–ductile
transition on Triton. This estimation may in turn give an idea of the thermal state of Triton’s icy lithosphere when these features formed. Given the young age
of its surface, the conclusions obtained could be roughly applicable to the present state of this satellite of Neptune. Considering water or ammonia dihydrate as
possible components of the lithosphere and a feasible range of strain rates, it was estimated that surface heat flow is greater than that inferred from radiogenic
heating, especially for a lithosphere dominated by water. Also, an internal ocean could lie at a depth of only ∼ 20 km beneath the surface. The presence over
the surface of an insulating layer of ice of low thermal conductivity (e.g., nitrogen) or of regolith would only substantially alter these estimates if the effective
surface temperature were considerably higher than the observed value of 38 K.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Triton, Thermal histories
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geodynamics
ID Code:10454
Deposited On:16 Apr 2010 08:10
Last Modified:16 Apr 2010 08:10

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