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Penitente formation is unlikely on Europa

Matters Arising to this article was published on 02 December 2019

The Original Article was published on 08 October 2018

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Fig. 1: Horizontal wavelength of penitentes as a function of surface albedo and the length scale for vapour diffusion.
Fig. 2: Laboratory experiments examining the temperature–pressure sensitivity of penitente formation.


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This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Author information




K.P.H. conceived the research, wrote the manuscript and helped with the design and execution of the experiments. D.B. edited the manuscript and helped lead the design, construction and execution of the experiments. T.D., J.F., A.E.H. and B.F. all helped with the design, construction and execution of the experiments.

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Correspondence to K. P. Hand.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Primary Handling Editor(s): Stefan Lachowycz.

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Hand, K.P., Berisford, D., Daimaru, T. et al. Penitente formation is unlikely on Europa. Nat. Geosci. 13, 17–19 (2020).

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