Ref: SCART-2020-0035

Enceladus's crust as a non-uniform thin shell: II tidal dissipation

Beuthe, Mikael

published in Icarus, 332, pp. 66-91 (2019)

Abstract: Tidal heating is the prime suspect behind Enceladus's south polar heating anomaly and global subsurface ocean. No model of internal tidal dissipation, however, can explain at the same time the total heat budget and the focusing of the energy at the south pole. I study here whether the non-uniform icy shell thickness can cause the north-south heating asymmetry by redistributing tidal heating either in the shell or in the core. Starting from the non-uniform tidal thin shell equations, I compute the volumetric rate, surface flux, and total power generated by tidal dissipation in shell and core. The micro approach is supplemented by a macro approach providing an independent determination of the core-shell partition of the total power. Unless the shell is incompressible, the assumption of a uniform Poisson's ratio implies non-zero bulk dissipation. If the shell is laterally uniform, the thin shell approach predicts shell dissipation with a few percent error while the error on core dissipation is negligible. Variations in shell thickness strongly increase the shell dissipation flux where the shell is thinner. For a hard shell with long-wavelength variations, the shell dissipation flux can be predicted by scaling with the inverse local thickness the flux for a laterally uniform shell. If Enceladus's shell is in conductive thermal equilibrium with isostatic thickness variations, the shell dissipation flux at the south pole is about three times its value for a shell of uniform thickness, which remains negligible compared to the observed flux. Spatial variations of the observed flux can only be reproduced if the ice at the bottom of the shell is ten times more dissipative at tidal frequencies than in standard models of ice rheology. Dissipation in an unconsolidated core can provide the missing power if the rheology of the core is extremely soft, but does not generate any significant heating asymmetry as long as the core is homogeneous. Non-steady state models, though not investigated here, face similar difficulties in explaining the asymmetries of tidal heating and shell thickness.

Keyword(s): Enceladus ; tidal dissipation ; thin shell theory
DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2019.05.035
Links: link
Funding: Brain Pioneer contract BR/314/PI/LOTIDE and PRODEX program managed by ESA and BELSPO (grant No. 4000120791)

The record appears in these collections:
Royal Observatory of Belgium > Reference Systems & Planetology
Science Articles > Peer Reviewed Articles

 Record created 2020-01-27, last modified 2020-01-27