Crustal failure on icy Moons from a strong tidal encounter
Quillen et al
Close tidal encounters among large planetesimals and Moons should have been more common than grazing or normal impacts. Using a mass spring model within an N-body simulation, we simulate the deformation of the surface of an elastic spherical body caused by a close parabolic tidal encounter with a body that has similar mass as that of the primary body. Such an encounter can induce sufficient stress on the surface to cause brittle failure of an icy crust and simulated fractures can extend a large fraction of the radius of body. Strong tidal encounters may be responsible for the formation of long graben complexes and chasmata in ancient terrain of icy Moons such as Dione, Tethys, Ariel and Charon.