Europa a Description

Europa is yet another extreme environment.  The surface is covered with H2O to a thickness of between 80 and 170 kilometers.  There is ample evidence pointing to an ocean but no proof of one as the behavior of the European Crust could still be explained by slush or warm ice.

Tidal kneading a gravitational force produces the heat required inside Europa to maintain a liquid ocean and the volcanism that would be required to produce hydrothermal vents.  Tidal kneading occurs because the gravitational pull of Jupiter flexes Europa like a tennis ball generating internal heat.

Photo of a Crater Feature on Europa Courtesy of NASA
Sources:  Scientific America, NASA webpage

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