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Enceladus: Geysers without water?

You don't need liquid water to explain the sprays of ice that are jetting out of huge cracks in Saturn's moon Enceladus. Astronomers from the University of Illinois have put forth a new model in which clathrates--frozen mixtures of water ice and other volatile solids such as C[O.sub.2] (dry ice)--can fly apart when exposed to the vacuum of space due to crustal cracking. Once the process gets started, it can go on continuously until an entire large pocket of the material is used up. This could

produce long-duration geysers of gas and snow powder without the material having to warm to anywhere near its melting temperature.


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Title Annotation:News Notes
Publication:Sky & Telescope
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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