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Recent Cassini images show the fountainlike plumes of fine spray that tower over Enceladus' south polar region. This image, backlit by the sun, was taken looking more or less broadside at "tiger stripe" fractures observed in earlier Enceladus images.
Ancient craters on Enceladus remain somewhat pristine in some locales but have clearly relaxed in others. Fractures across the southern hemisphere likely were caused by a change in the moon's rate of rotation and the consequential flattening of the moon's shape. The south polar terrain is marked by a striking set of blue fractures and is encircled by a conspicuous chain of folds and ridges.
Plume modelThis graphic illustrates key aspects of a model of an Enceladus geyser proposed by the Cassini imaging science team in the Science paper.
The model shows how underground reservoirs of pressurized liquid water could fuel geysers that send jets of icy material into the skies above the moon's south pole. In the graphic, the vent to the surface pierces one of the "tiger stripe" fractures seen in Cassini views of the southern polar terrain.