Thermal Reactions between H2S and O3: Implications for Europa Surface Chemistry

Patrick D. Tribbett, Mark J. Loeffler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Here we present a laboratory study demonstrating a low-temperature thermal oxidation reaction within H2O + H2S + O3 solid ice mixtures that produces observable sulfur anion products at temperatures as low as 90 K. This reaction primarily produces SO2, sulfur anions (including HSO-3 , HSO-4 , and SO24-), and O2 at lower temperatures (90–140 K) and hydrated states of sulfuric acid (H2SO4: nH2O, where n = 0, 1, 4) at higher temperatures (150–250 K). We estimate that the overall activation energy to initiate these reactions is 20 ± 3 kJ mol−1, which is significantly lower than the activation energy required to oxidize SO2 to the sulfate ion. Given the detection of sulfur species on the surfaces of the Galilean satellites and the prevalence of radiolytically produced oxidants, we expect that these thermal reactions will play an important role in explaining the results obtained from future observations and missions that can measure the spatial distribution of these species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number233
JournalPlanetary Science Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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