Fracture on Europa, Jupiter’s Moon, May Have Been Caused By 70 Degree Shift

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, with as many as 79 known moons. The most famous of these is the icy moon named Europa. The moon comes with a lot of fractures on its surface. According to new research, the fractures and disturbances might be a result of the tremendous shift of Jupiter’s icy moon.

The scientists believe that a 70-degree reorientation of the moon before several million years, also termed as one of the last geologic events recorded on its young surface, has been the reason behind cracks.

The new research was published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters on July 29 and is titled, “A Very Young Age for True Polar Wander on Europa from Related Fracturing.”

The team was led by Dr. Paul Schenk, a senior staff scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) under the Universities Space Research Association. He explained the process of true polar wander, the reorientation on its spin axis which led to the circular patterns. According to him, this process is possible only if the icy shell is uncoupled or separated from the rocky core of the planet.

The statement in the research paper concludes, “Our key finding is that the fractures associated with true polar wander on Europa cross-cut all terrains. This means that the true polar wander event is very young and that the ice shell and all features formed on it have moved more than 70° of latitude from where they first formed.”

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