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Journal Articles Icarus Year : 2002

Energy Distributions for Desorption of Sodium and Potassium from Ice: The Na/K Ratio at Europa

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Abstract

The sputtering and decomposition of the surface of Europa by fast ions and electrons lead to the production of an atomosphere containing sodium and potassium atoms. Here time-of-flight energy distributions are measured for Na and K sputtered from a vapor-deposited ice by 200-eV electrons. These data are then used in a Monte Carlo simulation for alkalis in Europa's atmosphere. Na/K ratios versus distance from Europa are calculated and compared to the recent observations in the range 6 to 18 Europan radii from the surface. Normalizing to the observations, the Na/K ratio for the loss rates is ∼27 and the ratio for the average surface source rates is ∼20. These ratios are very different from the Na/K ratio at Io and are larger than the Na/K ratio suggested for Europa's putative subsurface ocean, consistent with fractionation on freezing and upwelling of ocean material.

Dates and versions

insu-02151952 , version 1 (10-06-2019)

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R. E. Johnson, François Leblanc, Yakshinskiy B. V., T. E. Madey. Energy Distributions for Desorption of Sodium and Potassium from Ice: The Na/K Ratio at Europa. Icarus, 2002, 156 (1), pp.136-142. ⟨10.1006/icar.2001.6763⟩. ⟨insu-02151952⟩
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