Strange “behavior” of lakes on Europa: unusual activity detected on Jupiter's moon

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Scientists believe that there are small lakes in the ice shell of Europa and they can be erupted by streams of viscous ice.

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Scientists now believe that on Jupiter's moon Europa, under the icy surface is a huge ocean of liquid water, in which life could potentially exist. But a new study suggests that this ocean is not the only body of water on Europe. Data from the Galileo spacecraft indicates that there may be small lakes of salt water near the surface. Scientists from NASA suggest that these lakes are erupted by streams of viscous ice that come out on the surface of Jupiter's moon, writes Phys.

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A new study presented by scientists from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory suggests that water can come out of these lakes to the surface either in the form steam flows, either in the form of eruptions of viscous ice or cryolava.

“Our simulations show that there may indeed be shallow lakes in the upper layers of the Europa ice sheet, which are located at a depth of 4 to 8 km below the surface. And they show unusual activity in the form of eruptions. These eruptions definitely do not come out of the global ocean, which is located much deeper,” says Elodie Lesage of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Scientists believe that at this depth the ice is the coldest and most fragile. When the lakes begin to freeze, they expand, which causes eruptions to the surface. But scientists believe that these lakes are likely wide, but shallow and pancake-shaped.

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The Europa Clipper spacecraft will be able to test this theory, as well as the hypothesis of the existence of an underground ocean on Europa, as early as 2030. This unit will orbit Jupiter, but will also make about 50 orbits around Europa. The spacecraft will be equipped with special radars that will help detect both shallow lakes near the surface and the ocean deep under the icy shell of Europa.

As Focus already wrote, thanks to images from the Juno spacecraft Scientists have expanded their understanding of what Europa's surface looks like.

Focus has already written about a new theory by scientists that suggests that Europa's icy shell may be partly formed by underwater snow. By the way, similar snow can be found on our planet.