Jupiter: Moons: Europa
Europa [yur-ROH-pah] is a strange looking moon of Jupiter with a large number of
intersecting features. It is unlike Callisto and Ganymede with their heavily cratered crusts.
Europa has almost a complete absence of craters as well as almost no vertical relief. As one
scientist put it, the features "might have been painted on with a felt marker".
There is a possibility that Europa may be internally active due to tidal heating at a level
one-tenth or less that of Io. Models of Europa's interior show that beneath a thin 5 km
(3 miles) crust of water ice, Europa may have oceans as deep as 50 km (30 miles) or more.
The visible markings on Europa could be a result of global expansion where the crust could
have fractured, filled with water and froze.
Copyright © 1997-1999 by Calvin J. Hamilton.