Astrophysics (Index)About

cold trap

(layer of atmosphere that prevents a gas from escaping by freezing it)

An atmosphere's cold trap is a layer that is cold enough to freeze a gas rising into it that would otherwise escape. The frozen gas descends again and remains. On Earth, a cold trap at about 20 km traps water vapor.


The term cold trap is also used for a region on the surface of a planet or moon that remain cold enough to keep volatiles frozen, particularly those caused by a permanent shadow.


(atmosphere,planets)
Further reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_trap_(astronomy)

Referenced by pages:
moon

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