Lakes may lurk beneath chaos on Europa | Science News

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Lakes may lurk beneath chaos on Europa

Liquid water pockets underlie fractured ice on Jupiter moon’s surface, a study concludes

4:09pm, November 16, 2011

Beneath its glossy veneer, Europa’s frozen crust might be carved into something resembling Swiss cheese, with enormous cavities of liquid water tucked into the rock-hard ice.

One of the buried lakes on Jupiter’s watery moon, lurking a few kilometers below a region called Thera Macula, contains at least as much water as the U.S. Great Lakes, scientists report online November 16 in Nature.

These hidden Europan reservoirs would explain jumbled, chaotic surface features that have puzzled scientists for more than a decade. The existence of such cavities implies vigorous mixing of materials between Europa’s

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