Dr. Helen Maynard-Casely, Australian Center for Neutron Scattering
September 23, 2021
Ocean worlds have solid surfaces, and although water ice dominates many of these surfaces, its material properties will be heavily influenced by the other chemical species it crystallizes with. Moreover, studies of the minerals that form on these surfaces are clues as to what may lie below. Though we cannot yet reach these icy satellites and return a sample to Earth for investigation, we can recreate their simple compositions and extreme conditions in the laboratory. In contrast to terrestrial mineralogy, which has been subject to 100 years of laboratory measurements, we are only beginning to shed light on the range of materials that are formed on the ocean worlds. Through laboratory studies, cryominerals have been shown to be just as diverse as silicates in the structures and physical properties that they exhibit. From the influence of sulfate on governing what water-rich hydrates form on Europa, to the plastic solids of methane and nitrogen that form on Pluto. A new and particularly rich area of discovery recently has been the variety of minerals that are likely to be formed on Saturn’s moon Titan. This contribution will highlight recent developments in cryomineralogy, but also point to where much more laboratory work, and complementary modelling is needed.
To view Dr. Maynard-Casely’s webinar, please click on the link below:
Cryomineralogy, Like Mineralogy Only Cooler