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Energy sources for triton's geyser-like plumes

Science

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Abstract

Four geyser-like plumes were discovered near Triton's south pole in areas now in permanent sunlight. Because Triton's southern hemisphere is nearing a maximum summer solstice, insolation as a driver or a trigger for Triton's geyser-like plumes is an attractive hypothesis. Trapping of solar radiation in a translucent, low-conductivity surface layer (in a solid-state greenhouse), which is subsequently released in the form of latent heat of sublimation, could provide the required energy. Both the classical solid-state greenhouse consisting of exponentially absorbed insolation in a gray, translucent layer of solid nitrogen, and the "super" greenhouse consisting of a relatively transparent solid-nitrogen layer over an opaque, absorbing layer are plausible candidates. Geothermal heat may also play a part if assisted by the added energy input of seasonal cycles of insolation.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Energy sources for triton's geyser-like plumes
Series title:
Science
Volume
250
Issue:
4977
Year Published:
1990
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Science
First page:
431
Last page:
435