Geological Sciences 287, Planetary Evolution

The subject of this course this semester is "Outer Planet Satellite Systems: The Galilean Satellites Example". We will consider the geological and geophysical processes in the formation and evolution of outer planet satellites and satellite systems, using the characteristics of the relatively well-known Galilean satellites as a basis for discussion. Focus will be on icy satellites although Io will be discussed. Because of the upcoming Galileo encounters we will also concentrate on some of the issues that will be addressed by the data collected during this mission. Listed below are the themes and topics of the course, as presently planned.

On the basis of interests and directions of discussion, we can do some mid-course corrections. The course will be in the usual graduate seminar format, with reading lists from the literature and oral summaries and discussions of the literature. For planetary students in the course one of the benefits will be to learn background for what you might be interested in in terms of the analysis of the data to be collected by Galileo.

Several laboratory exercises will be undertaken and there will be a research paper on some aspect of material in the course. The course is scheduled to meet at N Hour (3:00-5:30 Wednesday) in Lincoln Field 202.

Week and topic:

  1. (Tuesday February 6th): Overview of the Galilean and outer planet satellites.
  2. (February 14th): Satellite accretion; structure, properties and chemistry of ices.
  3. (February 16th): Orbital evolution and tidal heating.
  4. (February 19th): Satellite thermal evolution and interior processes.
  5. (February 21st): Io: Geology, volcanic processes and evolution.
  6. (February 28th): Impact cratering on icy satellites: Processes.
  7. (March 6th): Impact cratering on icy satellites: History.
  8. (March 13th): Ganymede and Callisto: Formation and evolution of dark terrain.

  9. March 20th: Lunar and Planetary Science Conference:
    March 27th: Spring Vacation:
  10. (April 3rd): Ganymede: Ice volcanism and emplacement of bright terrain.
  11. (April 10th): Ganymede: Grooved terrain characteristics, formation and evolution.
  12. (April 17th): Europa: Resurfacing, band formation and tidal stresses.
  13. (April 24th): Europa: Geological evolution, surface and interior structure.
  14. (May 1st): Galilean Satellites: Surface composition, regolith processes, and exterior processes.

General Readings on the Galilean and Outer Planet Satellites: