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Using Tidally-Driven Elastic Strains to Infer Regional Variations in Crustal Thickness at Enceladus
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  • Alexander Berne,
  • Mark Simons,
  • James T. Keane,
  • Ryan S. Park
Alexander Berne
California Institute of Technology

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Mark Simons
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James T. Keane
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
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Ryan S. Park
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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Constraining the spatial variability of the thickness of the ice shell of Enceladus (i.e., the crust) is central to our understanding of its thermodynamics and habitability. In this study, we develop a new methodology to infer regional variations in crustal thickness using measurements of tidally-driven elastic strain. As proof of concept, we recover thickness variations from synthetic finite-element models of the crust subjected to diurnal eccentricity tides. We demonstrate recovery of crustal thickness to within ~2 km of true values with < 0.2 km error over spherical harmonic degrees l ≤ 12 (corresponding to half-wavelengths ≥ 60 km). Our computed uncertainty is significantly smaller than the inherent ~10 km ambiguity associated with inferring variations in crustal thickness solely from gravity and topography measurements. We therefore conclude that measuring elastic strain provides a relatively robust approach for probing crustal structure at Enceladus.
12 Jun 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
14 Jun 2023Published in ESS Open Archive