Crack azimuths on Europa: The G1 lineament sequence revisited

Alyssa Rose Sarid, Richard Greenberg, Gregory V. Hoppa, David M. Brown, Paul Geissler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The tectonic sequence in the anti-jovian area covered by regional mapping images from Galileo's orbit E15 is determined from a study of cross-cutting relationships among lineament features. The sequence is used to test earlier results from orbit G1, based on lower resolution images, which appeared to display a progressive change in azimuthal orientation over about 90° in a clockwise sense. Such a progression is consistent with expected stress variations that would accompany plausible non-synchronous rotation. The more recent data provide a more complete record than the G1 data did. We find that to fit the sequence into a continual clockwise change of orientation would require at least 1000° (> 5 cycles) of azimuthal rotation. If due to non-synchronous rotation of Europa, this result implies that we are seeing back further into the tectonic record than the G1 results had suggested. The three sets of orientations found by Geissler et al. now appear to have been spaced out over several cycles, not during a fraction of one cycle. While our more complete sequence of lineament formation is consistent with non-synchronous rotation, a statistical test shows that it cannot be construed as independent evidence. Other lines of evidence do support non-synchronous rotation, but azimuths of crack sequences do not show it, probably because only a couple of cracks form in a given region in any given non-synchronous rotation period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-479
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Europa
  • Geological processes
  • Tectonics
  • Tides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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