Happy Monday, everyone!

This week is about Io, Jupiter's "yellow" moon! This innermost moon is the most volcanically active moon in the Solar System- which is why it is yellowish- all that sulfur covering the surface! But the making of an active volcanic system on the fourth largest moon in the Solar System with no plate tectonics is still a mystery to us. 

Enhanced color image of Io. Every mark is a mountain and volcano! Credit: LPI. 

Enhanced color image of Io. Every mark is a mountain and volcano! Credit: LPI. 

Volcanoes here on your planet are formed by pockets of magma uprising due to pushing forces and seismic activity from our mantle layer. The magma is then replenished by the churning of the mantle, but sometimes the magma runs out and the volcano collapses. On Io, we do not know much about the interior, but we do know one fascinating thing- Io's volcanoes are active by Jupiter! Jupiter's gravity is so strong that Io and Jupiter are in tidal lock, making Io's interior churn rapidly for constant upheaval of material, spewing sulfur as high as 190 miles into the sky!

Some upcoming research on Io's lavas are going to be published in November by Davies, et al. Her team is to relate the lava temperature to determine the actual material makeup of the lavas and this would lead to knowing what the interior is made up of! How? There is a relation to lava sky lights and thermal signatures. 

Let me explain. Imagine you have a piece of fabric material. You can see how lightweight or heavy it is, you can see how easy or hard it would be to tear a hole in it, and you can see how it may or may not keep in body heat. We can do the same with these lava tubes on Io. We can guess how hard or fragile the lava "tunnel" is and what mineral thermal signatures we detect- this would lead to us discovering what kind of materials it may be made of! 

Ra Patera is the largest shield volcano on Io. The Hubble Telescope has determined geologic changes in this region in 1995-1996, indicating an eruption. Credit: LPI. 

Ra Patera is the largest shield volcano on Io. The Hubble Telescope has determined geologic changes in this region in 1995-1996, indicating an eruption. Credit: LPI. 

Thanks for visiting and join in next week for a blog on the different geology we see on our Moon!