• "Geophysics and Interior Processes of Rocky and Icy Bodies" – Prof. Francis Nimmo, UCSC
  • "Geological Activity on Tidally-Heated Solar System Worlds, with an Emphasis on Io" - Dr. Julie Rathbun, PSI
  • "Planetary Materials and their Response to Tidal Deformation" – Prof. Christine McCarthy, Columbia University
  • "Linking Tidal, Rotational, and Orbital Evolution" – Prof. Jim Fuller, Caltech


Tidal interactions between planets and their satellites are a fundamental source of heating in satellite interiors; this tidal heat drives geological activity and impacts the subsurface habitability of ocean worlds. The degree of heating is set both by properties of the planet-satellite system and by the interior structure and composition of the satellite. Tidal dissipation results in orbital evolution, thus linking the evolution and heating of objects in an orbital resonance such as the Galilean satellites Io, Europa, and Ganymede. The temperature- and pressure-dependence of material properties lead to additional feedbacks between the satellite’s interior state and the specifics of the heating process. This short course explores the process of tidal heating in rocky and icy worlds through the lenses of orbital dynamics, deformation, and evolution of interior properties. The course covers how orbits and tides drive geological activities and alter the surface/subsurface environments of Solar System satellites, as well as how measurements of these processes, and of global properties, such as shape, gravity and orbit, inform our understanding of the tidal heating process.

An informal lunch will follow for all attendees. Seating is limited and is first come, first served.

Short Course Presentations

Francis Nimmo
Geophysics and Interior Processes of Rocky and Icy Bodies
(5.4 MB .pdf)
Julie Rathbun
Geological Activity on Tidally-Heated Solar System Worlds, with an Emphasis on Io
(38 MB .pdf)
Christine McCarthy
Columbia University
Planetary Materials and their Response to Tidal Deformation
(14 MB .pdf)
Jim Fuller
Linking Tidal, Rotational, and Orbital Evolution
(19.2 MB .pdf)