Seismic Detectability of a Subsurface Ocean on Europa

Robert L. Kovach, Christopher F. Chyba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


A seismometer placed on Jupiter's moon Europa can use passive monitoring to determine the presence or absence of a possible liquid water ocean beneath Europa's surface ice and estimates of the thickness of the ice shell itself. Using probable seismic velocities for Europa's ice it is demonstrated that surface waves propagating in the frequency band of 0.1 to 0.5 Hz (wave periods of 2 to 10 s) can discriminate ice shells varying from 5 to 20 km in thickness. Miniature, light-weight seismometers with appropriate sensitivities are available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-287
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Europa
  • Ice
  • Instrumentation
  • Tectonics


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