Context: In a near-future version of our solar system, humans have established multiple underwater colonies on Jupiter's moon Europa. Many of these outposts are situated next to hydrothermal vents along the moon's rocky mantle. I want to place colonies next to vents as I make the world map, but I don't what pattern to place the vents in.
- Europa likely has hydrothermal vents produced by tidal heating. Assume it does.
- Hydrothermal vents on Earth are located near plate boundaries.
- Europa probably has plate tectonics in its icy crust, but it's unclear whether it has tectonics in its rocky mantle. Therefore, it's unclear if there are vent-forming boundaries in the ocean or not.
- Since this moon has lower gravity than Earth, warm water is less buoyant. I'm thinking this may lead to more total vents, but each one may be less hot. If this is incorrect, feel free to challenge this assumption in the comments or answers.
- Could Europa have mantle plate tectonics that allow for boundary-adjacent hydrothermal vents?
- If tectonics can't be present, would vents be clustered beneath the moon's tidal bulges, where tidal flexing is greatest?
- Finally if not, would vents form at random "hot spots" above convection zones?
Tl;DR In order to place my underwater colonies correctly, where would hydrothermal vents form on a tidally-heated, icy moon such as Europa?