Unformatted text preview: Enceladus.  Ice at these temperatures is warm enough to sublimate at a much faster rate than the background surface, thus generating a plume. This hypothesis is attractive since the sub-surface layer heating the surface water ice could be an ammonia-water slurry at temperatures as low as 170 K (−103 °C), and thus not as much energy is required to produce the plume activity. However, the abundance of particles in the south polar plume favors the "cold geyser" model, as opposed to an ice sublimation model.  Alternatively, Kieffer et al. (2006) suggest that Enceladus's geysers originate from clathrate hydrates, where carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen are released when exposed to the vacuum of space by the active, tiger stripe fractures.  This hypothesis would not require the amount of heat needed to melt water ice as required by the "Cold Geyser" model, and would explain the lack of ammonia....
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- Fall '10
- Astronomy, South Pole, clathrate, south polar plume, Composite Infrared Spectrometer