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This is an image of Europa showing what may be plates floating on a subsurface ocean.
Click on image for full size
NASA

Does Europa have a Surface in Motion?

The surface of Europa was carefully examined for types of faulting. These provide evidence of the kind of stress (pushing and shoving) which the crust of Europa has undergone through time. By identifying the "pushing forces", scientists can figure out how the surface of Europa moves.

The surface of Europa shows many signs of icy-volcanism:

  • smooth, unmodified plains
  • puddle-like flow
  • flooded terrain (see puddle-like flow)
  • plates (example shown here)
  • strike/slip faulting (similar to the San Andreas Fault of Earth)
Examination of the surface also shows a relatively uniform cratering pattern remeniscent of that of Venus & Earth.

This style of icy-volcanism proves to be different from either that of Callisto or Ganymede. (The other major moon of Jupiter, Io has a more conventional form of volcanism.) The difference has to do with heating in the interior of Europa


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Callisto

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