We calculate a range of thermodynamically consistent models for the physical structure of Europa, as constrained by the satellite's mass and moment of inertia. We start with either a pyrolitic or a chondritic mantle composition and with either pure iron or iron plus 20% of sulfur core composition.
Due to the feedback between radiogenic and tidal heating, two extreme thermal profiles are possible in the mantle. Strong dispersion and dissipation is expected in the hot convective mantle, while anelasticity effects will be much weaker in the case of the cold mantle.
There is a strong relationship between different thermal structures and compositions. The hot mantle may well keep temperatures high enough to be consistent with a liquid core made of iron plus light elements. In the case of the cold scenarios, the possibility of a solid iron core cannot be excluded and it may even be favored.
The depth of the ocean and of the core-mantle boundary are determined with high precision once we assume the composition and thermal structure. In fact, the depth of the ocean is not very sensitive to the core composition used.
Berkeley Seismological Laboratory
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