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11.10: Tidal Forces In Other Planet Systems

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    10329
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    Tidal Forces In Other Planet Systems

    Tidal features have been observed in other planet systems. For instance, Jupiter’s moon, Europa, is covered with large cracks that are attributed to Jupiter’s enormous gravity pulling on the moon, causing the thick ice crust to fracture (Figure 11.22). Tidal forces release heat, enough to melt large quantities of ice below its surface, allowing the Solar System’s largest oceans to remain liquid.

    Europa
    Figure 11.22. Tidal ice cracks on Jupiter's moon Europa

    Jupiter's moon, Io, is perhaps the most geologically active moon in the Solar System (Figure 11.23). Tidal forces between Jupiter and its other moons are generating heat within the moon that are driving volcanic activity, recycling the planets crust every few million years. Tidal forces also play a role in the heat generated within planet Earth, and may have a significant influence on plate-tectonics and magnetic reversals associated with the core.

    Volcanic eruption on the surface of Jupiter's moon Io
    Figure 11.23. A volcanic eruption on Jupiter's moon Io