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Science. 2006 Mar 10;311(5766):1393-401.

Cassini observes the active south pole of Enceladus.

Author information

1
Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations, Space Science Institute, 4750 Walnut Street, Suite 205, Boulder, CO 80301, USA. carolyn@ciclops.org

Abstract

Cassini has identified a geologically active province at the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus. In images acquired by the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS), this region is circumscribed by a chain of folded ridges and troughs at approximately 55 degrees S latitude. The terrain southward of this boundary is distinguished by its albedo and color contrasts, elevated temperatures, extreme geologic youth, and narrow tectonic rifts that exhibit coarse-grained ice and coincide with the hottest temperatures measured in the region. Jets of fine icy particles that supply Saturn's E ring emanate from this province, carried aloft by water vapor probably venting from subsurface reservoirs of liquid water. The shape of Enceladus suggests a possible intense heating epoch in the past by capture into a 1:4 secondary spin/orbit resonance.

PMID:
16527964
DOI:
10.1126/science.1123013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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