Jupiter's moon Europa could support life due to quakes, says study

Researchers have found evidence of tectonic movements in Jupiter's moon Europa, giving rise to the possibility of it holding or supporting life.


A recent study conducted by researchers at the Brown University has found out tectonic plates underneath the icy shell of Europa, Jupiter's moon, giving rise to expectations that life on it could be possible.

The researchers have discovered subduction in Europa, a process by which tectonic plates push against each other, which in turn produces the energy needed for the existence of life. The study is published in the recent edition of 'Journal of Geophysical Research'.

Earlier studies on Europa have revealed the existence of an icy ocean on its surface. Armed with this new finding, researchers at the Brown University believe that the subduction in the tectonic plates will offer a way to supply nutrients if life exists there.

According to the researchers, the movement of tectonic plates will provide nutrients including oxidants and electron-stripping substances which are abundant in Europa. The new findings are literally bolstering the previous assumption of Europa's ice shell expansion in a way which is very much similar to the mid-ocean spreading ridges on the Earth.

"We have this evidence of extension and spreading, so the question becomes where does that material go. On Earth, the answer is subduction zones. What we show is that under reasonable assumptions for conditions on Europa, subduction could be happening there as well, which is really exciting," said Brandon Johnson, the lead author of the study.

According to Brandon Johnson, if there are any forms of life on the Europa's ocean, then through subduction, the nature of Europa might be providing essential nutrients to the living beings inhabiting there.

Soon after this revelation, conspiracy theorists have started claiming that their predictions of life in Europa have finally come true.