MessageToEagle.com - Where is the "missing" 40 percent of Io's heat? It must come from inside of this strange moon's body!
No impact craters are seen. Their lack on Io, the innermost of Jupiter's largest moons,
in any spacecraft images at any resolution attests to the high resurfacing rate - 1 cm/year! and the dominant role of
active volcanism in shaping its surface.
Jupiter's strange moon is literally bursting with volcanoes. Dozens of active vents pepper the landscape which also
includes gigantic frosty plains, towering mountains and volcanic rings the size of California.
The volcanoes themselves are the hottest spots in the solar system with temperatures exceeding 1800 K (1527 C).
The plumes which rise 300 km into space are so large they can be seen from Earth by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Io has been the focus of repeated telescopic and satellite scientific observation during the last four centuries.
It's probably the most remarkable Galilean moons of Jupiter and the most volcanically active body in the Solar System.
It's hot; tremendous heat in Io's interior, which is relieved through surface volcanism, resulting in 25 times
more volcanic activity than occurs here on Earth.
A new study finds that the pattern of heat coming from volcanoes on Io's surface disposes of the generally-accepted
model of internal heating.
The heat pouring out of Io's hundreds of erupting volcanoes indicates a complex, multi-layer source.
These results come from data collected by NASA spacecraft and ground-based telescopes and appear in the June issue of the journal Icarus.
Click on image to enlarge
These images show some of the most colorful and high-contrast regions - most active volcanic centers on
Jupiter's moon, Io. The images in frames "a" through "g" are all scaled to the same proportions. Frame "a" is 575
kilometers (356 miles) across.
Fresh-appearing lava flows are often associated with active plumes (for example at Loki,
Prometheus, Culann, Marduk, Volund, Zamama, Maui, and Amirani). It is possible that the plumes result from interaction
between the advancing flows and the SO2-rich surface deposits, analogous to the plumes that form when lava flows into
a body of water (for example, in Hawaii). Credits: NASA/ Galileo spacecraft./JPL/University of Arizona
A map of hot spots, classified by the amount of heat being emitted, shows the global distribution and wide range of volcanic
activity on Io. Most of Io's eruptions dwarf their contemporaries on Earth.
"This is the most comprehensive study of Io's volcanic thermal emission to date," said Glenn Veeder of the Bear
Fight Institute, Winthrop, Wash., who led the work of a multi-faceted team that included Ashley Davies, Torrence Johnson
and Dennis Matson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., Jani Radebaugh of Brigham Young University, in
Provo, Utah, and David Williams of Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.
Click on image to enlarge
Thermal emission from erupting volcanoes on the jovian moon, Io. A logarithmic scale is used
to classify volcanoes on the basis of thermal emission: the larger the spot, the larger the thermal
emission. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Bear Fight Institute
The team examined data primarily from the NASA's Voyager and Galileo missions, but also incorporated infrared data
obtained from telescopes on Earth.
"The fascinating thing about the distribution of the heat flow is that it is not in keeping with the current preferred
model of tidal heating of Io at relatively shallow depths," said Davies. "Instead, the main thermal emission occurs
about 40 degrees eastward of its expected positions."
Click on image to enlarge
This false color infrared composite of Jupiter's moon Io was produced from images acquired in July and September,
1996 by NASA's Galileo spacecraft. The area shown is 11,420 kilometers in width. Deposits of sulfur dioxide frost appear
in white and gray hues while yellowish and brownish hues are probably due to other sulfurous materials.
Sulfur dioxide is normally a gas at room temperatures, but it exists on Io's surface as a frost after condensing there
from the hot gases emanating from the Io volcanoes. Bright red materials (such as the prominent ring surrounding the
currently erupting plume Pele) and spots with low brightness or albedo ("black" spots) mark areas of recent volcanic
activity and are usually associated with high temperatures and surface changes. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS
"The pattern that emerges points to a complex heating process within Io," said Matson.
"What we see indicates a mixture of both deep and shallow heating."
A mystery has also emerged. The team found that active volcanoes accounted for only about 60 percent of Io's heat.
This component mostly emanates from flat-floored volcanic craters called paterae, a common feature on Io.
But where is the "missing" 40 percent?
"We are investigating the possibility that there are many smaller volcanoes that are hard, but not impossible,
to detect," said Veeder. "We are now puzzling over the observed pattern of heat flow."
Credits: David A. Williams, Laszlo P. Keszthelyi, David A. Crown, Jessica A. Yff,
Windy L. Jaeger, Paul M. Schenk, Paul E. Geissler, and Tammy L. Becker
Understanding this will help identify the tidal heating mechanisms not only within Io, but also may apply to
neighboring Europa, a high-priority target for NASA in its search for life beyond Earth.
There is conducted a continuous monitoring from ground-based observatories and comparisons between Voyager
and Galileo images confirm the high level of almost non-stop eruptive activity on Io and its high-temperature spots.
Its characteristics have been recognized by countless observations from six National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
spacecraft: Voyager 1 (March 1979), Voyager 2 (July 1979), Hubble Space Telescope (1990-present), Galileo (1996-2001),
Cassini (December 2000), and New Horizons (February 2007).
It was a great event when for the first time, a team of scientists led by Arizona State University has produced the
first complete global map of this Jovian satellite, based on a set of four global mosaics of Io made by
the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
It happened more than 400 years after its discovery by Galileo!
The map depicts the characteristics and relative ages of some of the most geologically unique and active volcanoes
and lava flows ever documented in the Solar System and can be downloaded from the USGS here:
Geological Map of Io
"One of the reasons for making this map was to create a tool for continuing scientific studies of Io, and a tool
for target planning of Io observations on future missions to the Jupiter system," says David Williams, a faculty
research associate in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU, who led the six-year research project to
produce the geologic map.
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