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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.
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 signs of 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.

Europa shows many signs of volcanism, where water flows like lava, such as:

  • smooth plains
  • puddle-like flow
  • floods (see puddle-like flow)
  • plates (example shown here)
  • earthquake faulting (similar to the San Andreas Fault of Earth)

This type of surface is different from either that of Callisto or Ganymede. (The other major moon of Jupiter, Io has many volcanoes.) The difference has to do with heating inside of Europa


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