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Internally Heated Porous Convection: An Idealized Model for Enceladus' Hydrothermal Activity

Le Reun, T; Hewitt, DR; (2020) Internally Heated Porous Convection: An Idealized Model for Enceladus' Hydrothermal Activity. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets , 125 (7) , Article e2020JE006451. 10.1029/2020je006451. Green open access

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Abstract

Recent planetary data and geophysical modeling suggest that hydrothermal activity is ongoing under the ice crust of Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons. According to these models, hydrothermal flow in the porous, rocky core of the satellite is driven by tidal deformation that induces dissipation and volumetric internal heating. Despite the effort in the modeling of Enceladus' interior, systematic understanding—and even basic scaling laws—of internally heated porous convection and hydrothermal activity are still lacking. In this article, using an idealized model of an internally heated porous medium, we explore numerically and theoretically the flows that develop close to and far from the onset of convection. In particular, we quantify heat‐transport efficiency by convective flows as well as the typical extent and intensity of heat flux anomalies created at the top of the porous layer. With our idealized model, we derive simple and general laws governing the temperature and hydrothermal velocity that can be driven in the oceans of icy moons. In the future, these laws could help better constraining models of the interior of Enceladus and other icy satellites.

Type: Article
Title: Internally Heated Porous Convection: An Idealized Model for Enceladus' Hydrothermal Activity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1029/2020je006451
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020je006451
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: porous convection, icy satellites, hydrothermal activity
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Mathematics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10105294
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