Relevance of tidal heating on large TNOs

Saxena, Prabal; Renaud, Joe P.; Henning, Wade G.; Jutzi, Martin; Hurford, Terry (2018). Relevance of tidal heating on large TNOs. Icarus, 302, pp. 245-260. Elsevier 10.1016/j.icarus.2017.11.023

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We examine the relevance of tidal heating for large Trans-Neptunian Objects, with a focus on its poten- tial to melt and maintain layers of subsurface liquid water. Depending on their past orbital evolution, tidal heating may be an important part of the heat budget for a number of discovered and hypothetical TNO systems and may enable formation of, and increased access to, subsurface liquid water. Tidal heat- ing induced by the process of despinning is found to be particularly able to compete with heating due to radionuclide decay in a number of different scenarios. In cases where radiogenic heating alone may establish subsurface conditions for liquid water, we focus on the extent by which tidal activity lifts the depth of such conditions closer to the surface. While it is common for strong tidal heating and long lived tides to be mutually exclusive, we find this is not always the case, and highlight when these two traits occur together. We find cases where TNO systems experience tidal heating that is a significant propor- tion of, or greater than radiogenic heating for periods ranging from100  s of millions to a billion years. For subsurface oceans that contain a small antifreeze component, tidal heating due to very high initial spin states may enable liquid water to be preserved right up to the present day. Of particular interest is the Eris-Dysnomia system, which in those cases may exhibit extant cryovolcanism.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > NCCR PlanetS

UniBE Contributor:

Jutzi, Martin


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering








Dora Ursula Zimmerer

Date Deposited:

23 Jul 2018 15:59

Last Modified:

26 Oct 2019 01:27

Publisher DOI:





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