Tidal stress patterns on Europa's crust

Richard Greenberg, Gregory V. Hoppa, Gwen Bart, Terry Hurford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The ice crust of Europa probably floats over a deep liquid-water ocean, and has been continually resurfaced by tectonic and thermal processes driven by tides. Tidal working causes rotational torque, surface stress, internal heating, and orbital evolution. The stress patterns expected on such a crust due to reorientation of the tidal bulge by non-synchronous rotation and due to orbital eccentricity, which introduces periodic ('diurnal') variations in the tide, are shown as global maps. By taking into account the finite rate of crack propagation, global maps are generated of cycloidal features and other distinctive patterns, including the crack shapes characteristic of the wedges region and its antipode on the sub-Jovian hemisphere. Theoretical maps of tidal stress and cracking can be compared with observed tectonics, with the possibility of reconstructing the rotational history of the satellite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-188
Number of pages18
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2003


  • Europa
  • Stress
  • Tides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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