NASA Logo, External Link
Facebook icon, External Link to NASA STI page on Facebook Twitter icon, External Link to NASA STI on Twitter YouTube icon, External Link to NASA STI Channel on YouTube RSS icon, External Link to New NASA STI RSS Feed AddThis share icon
 

Record Details

Record 54 of 1723
Coupling of volatile transport and internal heat flow on Triton
External Online Source: doi:10.1029/93JE02618
Author and Affiliation:
Brown, Robert H.(Jet Propulsion Lab., Cal. Inst. of Tech., Pasadena, CA, United States)
Kirk, Randolph L.(U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ, United States)
Abstract: Recently Brown et al. (1991) showed that Triton's internal heat source could amount to 5-20% of the absorbed insolation on Triton, thus significantly affecting volatile transport and atmospheric pressure. Subsequently, Kirk and Brown (1991a) used simple analytical models of the effect of internal heat on the distribution of volatiles on Triton's surface, confirming the speculation of Brown et al. that Triton's internal heat flow could strongly couple to the surface volatile distribution. To further explore this idea, we present numerical models of the permanent distribution of nitrogen ice on Triton that include the effects of sunlight, the two-dimensional distribution of internal heat flow, the coupling of internal heat flow to the surface distribution of nitrogen ice, and the finite viscosity of nitrogen ice. From these models we conclude that: (1) The strong vertical thermal gradient induced in Triton's polar caps by internal heat-flow facilitates viscous spreading to lower latitudes, thus opposing the poleward transport of volatiles by sunlight, and, for plausible viscosities and nitrogen inventories, producing permanent caps of considerable latitudinal extent; (2) It is probable that there is a strong coupling between the surface distribution of nitrogen ice on Triton and internal heat flow; (3) Asymmetries in the spatial distribution of Triton's heat flow, possibly driven by large-scale, volcanic activity or convection in Triton's interior, can result in permanent polar caps of unequal latitudinal extent, including the case of only one permanent polar cap; (4) Melting at the base of a permanent polar cap on Triton caused by internal heat flow can significantly enhance viscous spreading, and, as an alternative to the solid-state greenhouse mechanism proposed by Brown et al. (1990), could provide the necessary energy, fluids, and/or gases to drive Triton's geyser-like plumes; (5) The atmospheric collapse predicted to occur on Triton in the next 20 years (Spencer, 1990) may be plausibly avoided because of the large latitudinal extent expected for permanent polar caps on Triton.
Publication Date: Jan 25, 1994
Document ID:
19950031744
(Acquired Dec 28, 1995)
Accession Number: 95A63343
Subject Category: LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Document Type: Journal Article
Publication Information: Journal of Geophysical Research; p. p. 1695-1981; (ISSN 0148-0227); 99; E1
Publisher Information: United States
Financial Sponsor: NASA; United States
Organization Source: Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech.; Pasadena, CA, United States
Description: 17p; In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: Copyright
NASA Terms: ATMOSPHERIC COMPOSITION; ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS; ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE; HEAT TRANSFER; ICE; NITROGEN; SATELLITE ATMOSPHERES; SATELLITE SURFACES; TRANSPORT PROPERTIES; TRITON; TWO DIMENSIONAL MODELS; VOLATILITY; GREENHOUSE EFFECT; INSOLATION; MELTING; METHANE; NEPTUNE (PLANET); POLAR CAPS; SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION; SUNLIGHT; VISCOSITY; VOLCANOES
Imprint And Other Notes: Journal of Geophysical Research vol. 99, no. E1 p. 1695-1981 January 25, 1994
Availability Source: Other Sources
› Back to Top
Find Similar Records
NASA Logo, External Link
NASA Official: Gerald Steeman
Site Curator: STI Program
Last Modified: August 19, 2011
Contact Us