Water Plumes on Europa: The Discovery in Images

Water Plume Diagram

From Fagents 2003, Considerations for effusive cryovolcanism on Europa: The post-Galileo perspective, JGR

This diagram illustrates how water from Europa's subsurface ocean could bubble up through its icy crust via a process called "explosive venting." Water-filled cracks move upward through the ice and erupt as vapor.

Rising Through the Cracks

Britney Schmidt/Dead Pixel VFX/Univ. of Texas at Austin

This artist's illustration provides another mechanism for delivering water to Europa’s surface. In this scenario, the water from the subterranean ocean rises through cracks in the moon icy crust.

Europa: An Infographic

by Karl Tate, Infographics Artist

If it is confirmed that Europa has a subsurface ocean, the Jovian moon could also potentially harbor life inside that ocean.

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at FutureFlight.aero and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at Space.com. As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.