Circumplanetary disk ices: I. Ice formation vs. viscous evolution and grain drift

N. Oberg, I. Kamp, S. Cazaux, P. Woitke, W. F. Thi

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Context. The large icy moons of Jupiter formed in a circumplanetary disk (CPD). CPDs are fed by vertically infalling circumstellar gas and dust which may be shock-heated upon accretion. Accreted material is then either incorporated into moons, falls into the planet, or is lost beyond the disk edge on relatively short timescales. If ices are sublimated during accretion onto the CPD we know there must be sufficient time for them to recondense or moons such as Ganymede or Callisto could not form. The chemical timescale to form sufficiently icy solids places a novel constraint on the dynamical behaviour and properties of CPDs. Aims. We aim to explore the process of ice formation in CPDs to constrain which disk properties (such as the mass, viscosity, and dust-to-gas ratio) are consistent with the formation of an icy moon system. Methods. We use the radiation thermochemical code ProDiMo (Protoplanetary Disk Model) to analyze how the radial ice abundance evolves in CPDs. We consider different initial chemical conditions of the disk to explore the consequences of infalling material being inherited from the circumstellar disk or being reset to atomic conditions by shock-heating. We contrast the timescales of ice formation with disk viscous timescales and radial dust drift. Results. We have derived the radial ice abundance and rate of ice formation in a small grid of model CPDs. Water ice can form very efficiently in the CPD from initially atomic conditions, as a significant fraction is efficiently re-deposited on dust grains within <1 yr. Radial grain drift timescales are in general longer than those of ice formation on grains. Icy grains of size a < 3 mm retain their icy mantles while crossing an optically thin circumstellar disk gap at 5 au for L < 10 L. Conclusions. Three-body reactions play an important role in water formation in the dense midplane condition of CPDs. The CPD midplane must be depleted in dust relative to the circumstellar disk by a factor 10-50 to produce solids with the ice to rock ratio of the icy Galilean satellites. The CPD snowline is not erased by radial grain drift, which is consistent with the compositional gradient of the Galilean satellites being primordial.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA95
Number of pages19
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue numberA95
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Accretion
  • Accretion disks
  • Methods: numerical
  • Planets and satellites: composition
  • Planets and satellites: formation
  • Planets and satellites: individual: Jupiter
  • Protoplanetary disks


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