The Geochemistry of Enceladus: Plume, Ocean, and Deep Interior

Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm

131 Campbell Hall

Christopher Glein (San Antonio)

The Cassini-Huygens mission has revolutionized our understanding of the Saturn system. In particular, it has shown that the diminutive moon Enceladus is one of the most geologically active and exciting bodies in the solar system. This activity is tied to the existence of a subsurface ocean of liquid water that may be habitable or even inhabited. However, to make progress on the question of life, we need to understand the geochemical context. In this talk, I will review some fundamental principles of aqueous geochemistry, and the geochemical data from Enceladus; and then show how we can merge them to gain insights into the composition of Enceladus’ ocean and deeper environments, with a goal of understanding the governing geochemical processes. This talk provides an introduction to extraterrestrial chemical oceanography, a new discipline that is being created in response to the unprecedented discoveries at Enceladus.