sunset_kauai (c) Bridget Smith-Konter

Strike-slip faults on Ganymede

Our research group, along with colleagues at JPL and Wheaton College, study the failure tendencies of major strike-slip structures inferred on the surface of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede. This research is focused on understanding shear failure of fractures driven by tidally induced stresses that are exerted on Ganymede during its daily orbital cycle around Jupiter. Several significant discoveries have emerged from this work, including meticulous documentation of multiple strike-slip systems on Ganymede and strong evidence relating their origin to internal stresses linked to Ganymede’s subsurface ocean (Burkhard et al., 2023; Cameron et al., 2018; 2019; 2020).

Ganymede morphology>

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Above: Tiamat Sulcus: (a) Voyager background imagery underlying Galileo high-resolution imagery, (b) lineament map, with letters and numbers referred to in Cameron et al. (2018).

Ganymede failure>

<div class= Above: Global failure predictions for Ganymede strike-slip fractures. (a) Normal stress orientation diagrams (simplified black and gray representations, see Fig. 5) overlaying global imagery and maximum principal stress (σ1, MPa). Note regions of high compressive stresses near the equator. (b) Traction sense diagrams overlaying global imagery and shear stress tensor (MPa). (c) Coulomb failure orientation diagrams overlaying global imagery.

Related Publications:

  • Burkhard, L., E.S. Costello, B. Smith-Konter, M.E. Cameron, G.C. Collins, and R.L.Pappalardo (2023), Uncovering Ganymede’s past: Tectonics at Nippur/Philus Sulci, Icarus,2023.115823.
  • Cameron, M., B. Smith-Konter, L. Burkhard, G. Collins, D. Patthoff, and R.T. Pappalardo (2020), Ganymede past and present: How evolving eccentricity effects tidally-driven Coulomb failure, J Geophys. Res. Planets, doi:10.1029/2019JE005995.
  • Cameron, M., B. Smith-Konter, G. Collins, D. Patthoff, and R.T. Pappalardo (2019), Tidal stress modeling of Ganymede: Strike-slip tectonism and Coulomb failure, Icarus, 319, doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2018.09.002.
  • Cameron, M., B. Smith-Konter, L. Burkhard, G. Collins, and R.T. Pappalardo (2018), Morphological mapping of Ganymede: Investigating the role of strike-slip tectonics in the evolution of terrain types, Icarus, , 315, doi: 10.1016/j.icarus.2018.06.024.