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Photogeological analysis of Europan tectonic featuresPreliminary photogeological analyses of the Pelorus Linea and Sidon Flexus regions of Europa were conducted to explore the proposal by Schenk that lateral motion of crustal blocks has occurred in a 'rift zone' including possible strike-slip, tension fracturing, and geometric plate rotation about an Euler pole. These analyses revealed features interpreted as tensional structures and block rotation in a strike-slip regime consistent with the Schenk hypotheses and implied the presence of at least two stages of crustal deformation consistent with a chronology developed by Lucchitta. Confirmation of regional scale Euler pole rotation was ambiguous, however. Up to 80 kilometers of possible extension was identified in the rift zone; to accommodate this, 'cryosubduction' is speculatively proposed as a mechanism for recycling Europan 'ice lithosphere'. The cumulative width of wedge-shaped bands included in the rift zone was measured and plotted versus distance from the inferred rotation pole. Three sharp decreases in the total width were noted. These occur roughly where certain triple bands cross the rift zone suggesting that the bands are structural features that predate and influence the zone. While the curve hints at one or more sinusoidal relationships consistent with rotation geometry, given the low photographic resolution and the preliminary nature of this examination the question of whether the observations represent coherent regional rotation modified by crosscutting structures or instead imply independent local rotations separated by these structures is unanswered by this analysis.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Tufts, B. R.
(Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-Fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 3: N-Z
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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