Pebble Accretion at the Origin of Water in Europa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Despite the fact that the observed gradient in water content among the Galilean satellites is globally consistent with a formation in a circum-Jovian disk on both sides of the snowline, the mechanisms that led to a low water mass fraction in Europa (∼8%) are not yet understood. Here, we present new modeling results of solids transport in the circum-Jovian disk accounting for aerodynamic drag, turbulent diffusion, surface temperature evolution, and sublimation of water ice. We find that the water mass fraction of pebbles (e.g., solids with sizes of 10-2-1 m) as they drift inward is globally consistent with the current water content of the Galilean system. This opens the possibility that each satellite could have formed through pebble accretion within a delimited region whose boundaries were defined by the position of the snowline. This further implies that the migration of the forming satellites was tied to the evolution of the snowline so that Europa fully accreted from partially dehydrated material in the region just inside of the snowline.

Details

Authors
External organisations
  • Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM)
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Keywords

  • methods: numerical, planets and satellites: formation, planets and satellites: individual (Jupiter, Galilean satellites), protoplanetary disks
Original languageEnglish
Article number92
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume845
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 20
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Externally publishedYes