Constraints on the location, magnitude, and dimensions of Ganymede's mass anomalies

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Previously, radio Doppler data, generated with NASA's Galileo spacecraft during its second encounter with Jupiter's moon Ganymede, were used to infer the locations and magnitudes of mass anomalies on Ganymede using point-mass models. However, the point-mass solutions do not provide the vertical and horizontal extent of the anomalous mass concentrations. Here, we provide the results of a new study using spherical cap disks to model Ganymede's mass anomalies. The spherical cap disk models not only provide the locations and magnitudes of the mass anomalies, but also their vertical and horizontal dimensions. The new models show that three disks, a positive mass located at (53.0° N, 127.0° W) and two negative masses located at (22.0° N, 87.0° W) and (49.0° N, 219.0° W), can explain the data. The magnitudes of the mass anomalies are on the order of 10<sup>18</sup> kg. The diameters of the anomalies are a few thousand kilometers. The positive anomaly is about 100 meters thick and both negative anomalies have a thickness of less than a kilometer. We use the additional information provided by the disk models to investigate the viability of mass anomalies at Ganymede's surface by comparing the diameters of the anomalies to the sizes of regiones and sulci and the anomalies' thicknesses to accumulated layers of rock and clean ice on the surface. We find that the dimensions of the mass anomalies could be explained by concentrations of rock in the regio and rock-free ice in the sulci. These results confirm that mass anomalies may reside on or near Ganymede's surface and that positive mass anomalies are contained within areas of dark terrain and negative mass anomalies within bright terrain. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Palguta, J., Schubert, G., Zhang, K., & Anderson, J. D. (2009). Constraints on the location, magnitude, and dimensions of Ganymede’s mass anomalies. Icarus, 201(2), 615–625.

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