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The Galileo data show that most of the volcanism on Io consists of hot silicate lava, like the volcanoes on Earth. Sometimes the hot lava encounters frozen deposits of sulfur and sulfur dioxide. When these icy deposits are suddenly heated, the result is great eruptive plumes far larger than any ejected from terrestrial volcanoes. As the rising plumes cool, the sulfur and sulfur dioxide recondense as solid particles that fall back to the surface in colorful “snowfalls” that extend as much as a thousand kilometers from the vent. Major new surface features were even seen to appear between Galileo orbits, as shown in [link] .

Volcanic changes on io.

A series of three images that show color change due to volcanic eruption on Io. The left most image is dated “April 1997”, the center image “September 1997”, and the third image “July 1999”.
These three images were taken of the same 1700-kilometer-square region of Io in April 1997, September 1997, and July 1999. The dark volcanic center called Pillan Patera experienced a huge eruption, producing a dark deposit some 400 kilometers across (seen as the grey area in the upper center of the middle image). In the right image, however, some of the new dark deposit is already being covered by reddish material from the volcano Pele. Also, a small unnamed volcano to the right of Pillan has erupted since 1997, and some of its dark deposit and a yellow ring around it are visible on the right image (to the right of the grey spot). The color range is exaggerated in these images. (credit: modification of work by NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

As the Galileo mission drew to a close, controllers were willing to take risks in getting close to Io. Approaching this moon is a dangerous maneuver because the belts of atomic particles trapped in Jupiter’s magnetic environment are at their most intense near Io’s orbit. Indeed, in its very first pass by Io, the spacecraft absorbed damaging radiation beyond its design levels. To keep the system working at all, controllers had to modify or disable various fault-protection software routines in the onboard computers. In spite of these difficulties, the spacecraft achieved four successful Io flybys, obtaining photos and spectra of the surface with unprecedented resolution.

Maps of Io reveal more than 100 recently active volcanoes. Huge flows spread out from many of these vents, covering about 25% of the moon’s total surface with still-warm lava. From these measurements, it seems clear that the bright surface colors that first attracted attention to Io are the result of a thin veneer of sulfur compounds. The underlying volcanism is driven by eruptions of molten silicates, just like on Earth ( [link] ).

Lava fountains on io.

An image of lava fountains on Io, with hot lava erupting below ground.
Galileo captured a number of eruptions along the chain of huge volcanic calderas (or pits) on Io called Tvashtar Catena in this false-color image combining infrared and visible light. The bright orange-yellow areas at left are places where fresh, hot lava is erupting from below ground. (credit: modification of work by NASA/JPL)

Tidal heating

How can Io remain volcanically active in spite of its small size? The answer, as we hinted earlier, lies in the effect of gravity, through tidal heating    . Io is about the same distance from Jupiter as our Moon is from Earth. Yet Jupiter is more than 300 times more massive than Earth, causing forces that pull Io into an elongated shape, with a several-kilometer-high bulge extending toward Jupiter.

If Io always kept exactly the same face turned toward Jupiter, this bulge would not generate heat. However, Io’s orbit is not exactly circular due to gravitational perturbations (tugs) from Europa and Ganymede. In its slightly eccentric orbit, Io twists back and forth with respect to Jupiter, at the same time moving nearer and farther from the planet on each revolution. The twisting and flexing heat Io, much as repeated flexing of a wire coat hanger heats the wire.

After billions of years, this constant flexing and heating have taken their toll on Io, driving away water and carbon dioxide and other gases, so that now sulfur and sulfur compounds are the most volatile materials remaining. Its interior is entirely melted, and the crust itself is constantly recycled by volcanic activity.

In moving inward toward Jupiter from Callisto to Io, we have encountered more and more evidence of geological activity and internal heating, culminating in the violent volcanism on Io. Three of these surfaces are compared in [link] . Just as the character of the planets in our solar system depends in large measure on their distance from the Sun (and on the amount of heat they receive), so it appears that distance from a giant planet like Jupiter can play a large role in the composition and evolution of its moons (at least partly due to differences in internal heating of each moon by Jupiter’s unrelenting tidal forces).

Three icy moons.

A series of three separate close-up images of icy moons. The leftmost image is labeled “Europa”, the middle image “Ganymede”, and the rightmost image “Callisto”.
These Galileo images compare the surfaces of Europa , Ganymede , and Callisto at the same resolution. Note that the number of craters (and thus the age of the surface we see) increases as we go from Europa to Ganymede to Callisto. The Europa image is one of those where the system of cracks and ridges resembles a freeway system. (credit: modification of work by NASA/JPL/DLR)

Key concepts and summary

Jupiter’s largest moons are Ganymede and Callisto, both low-density objects that are composed of more than half water ice. Callisto has an ancient cratered surface, while Ganymede shows evidence of extensive tectonic and volcanic activity, persisting until perhaps a billion years ago. Io and Europa are denser and smaller, each about the size of our Moon. Io is the most volcanically active object in the solar system. Various lines of evidence indicate that Europa has a global ocean of liquid water under a thick ice crust. Many scientists think that Europa may offer the most favorable environment in the solar system to search for life.

Questions & Answers

why are the hyperlinks not working?
Gregory Reply
If the atmosphere blocks the view of Venus' surface, what am I seeing that looks like craters?
Michael Reply
clouds?
Michele
If the surface of Venus is shrouded by white clouds, making it impossible to see the surface, what looks like craters when view the planet?
Michael Reply
I don't Know! perhaps the mountains?
Michele
my question is if the surface of Venus is shining y not our earth
Tahir
when we look at venus we can't see any crater like things... check it once again
RIEM
and venus shines because of the clouds that are made up sulpher dioxide and sulphuric acid droplets. and the clouds are so dense. the case of earth is different
RIEM
also because of Venus's 70% albedo phenamenon
Shivam
and plus it reflects 70 percent of its light back into space earth don't shine because it's not a cloudy planet and its farther than the sun
americantuber
can I become an astronaut without taking mathematics as a subject in 11th class
UNIVERSAL Reply
If the surface of Venus is shrouded by white clouds, making it impossible to see the surface, what looks like craters? Are these atmospheric storms?
Michael
can a death of a massive star be the new big bang
Neeta Reply
No it might be a supernova. The big bang was much more massive.
Nick
It created the universe as we know it
Nick
the big bang is just a new beginning
Neeta
the death of a gigantic star makes it possible for a new begging
Neeta
Only in the local area of space
Nick
so many smaller universes are created and destroyed
Neeta
i think it created a supernova!
Michele
you still think? I am sure I created one supernova of my own
Neeta
I'm sure you did
Nick
neeta the death of a massive star could lead to an explosion that leads to a super nova and when the supernova explodes it becomes a nebula like messier 1
americantuber
a supernova remnant
americantuber
what is means by earthbound
Satyam Reply
you are earthbound, arnt we all earthbound? except the ISS etc.
Collins
I don't agree we may be earthbound because of our gross body/physical body...but there is also a subtle body which does not limit us to earthly existence
Neeta
good questions, as humans our habitat is earth, we are bound to this and have to alter ourselves to stay alive off land and outside the atmosphere, do you not agree? I'd guess you could also say the moon is earthbound. anything earthbound is restricted to earth. hope this helps, love your question
Collins
how do you describe astral projection
Neeta
Astral projection is spiritual. I'm assuming Satyam was talking about the physical world.
TheDirtyGhost
ah yes spiritually we are bound only to what we chose, like nothing, I like to think that way
Collins
anyone here also participating in seti@home?
dreamer
what is seti?
Mahesh
what has extraterrestrial entity got to do with this why @seti project..we are discussing human existence on earth and beyond earth
Neeta
please join me at the cosmic Diner where all your intergalactic dreams come true.
Alba
I was just thinking what if somebody ignorantly mistaken a cosmic microwave Background with a conventional microwave we be in a lot of trouble.
Alba
don't kno
dreamer
You mean the Restaurant at the end of the Universe...right we can come back and visit again but not sure of the mode of payment
Neeta
yeah I'm already heading there
dreamer
how to read stars
Amresh Reply
you don't
Max
astrology i guess
Uttam
astrologer is the study of star systems and constellations...but astronomy is the study of formation of universes multiverses birth and evolu of stars
Neeta
cool
Uttam
what is astronomy
babul Reply
study of formation evolution and the death of star star systems and galaxies
Neeta
astronomy is the study of universe
UNIVERSAL
astronomy and physics are basically the same except physics is the study of the motion and behavior of the universe
americantuber
What is 12 constellation of zodiac and why it is important to study astrology
MUHIBULLAH
And also what is main purpose of these 12 constellation of zodiac in astronomy
MUHIBULLAH
astronomy and astrology with two different things
Deja
it Is the study of universe and of life speaking generally! i think!
Michele
universe is born 13,7 miliardi of years with big Bang if i remember well! but there are also other theories for the universe, speaking generally! i remember so!
Michele
universe is actually about 13.7 billion years old
Nick
is astrology like astronomy
debjani Reply
Astrology is a lower dimension.. astronomy is much more vast and multidimensional
Neeta
yes.. astrology is about constellations only, and astronomy is about all stars, galaxies, gravity, dark matter, dark energy.. etc everything including astrology
Mahesh
can you become an astronaut without taking mathematics as a subject in 11th class
UNIVERSAL
I was reading the chapter on Cosmic Microwave Background. And, I can not seem to find it now. If anyone could help me find that portion of the Astronomy Textbook I would really appreciate it. AZ
Alba Reply
Where or which chapter discusses Cosmic Microwave Background?
Alba
29.4
Andrew
29 the big bang ch 29.4
Andrew
yes
pratham
interesting
Orlando
what's cold dark matter?
pratham Reply
How are Roche Worlds formed?
AlteredEdge Reply
In need to read some books about Astronomy so how can in get it actually leg live in Ethiopia can uh help me with that?
Mom Reply
I am sri Sharan .m .what is my best favourable numbers
Madhesh Reply
how can we know it
sruthi
😂😂
Rango
bahut hard
Rango
Why no object can travel with speed greater than light?
geometry Reply
Because the mass of light particles is zero
Asim
Can mass be negative?
geometry
No
Asim
anybody stated that the light is the only thing is speed
sruthi
geometry are you a korean or kpop fan
sruthi
in this universe anything can be faster than light because we simply can't get to an conclusion
sruthi
I am a an Army but lets not bring spam here.
geometry
But why mass can't be negative. What I mean is how can we claim an object made of strange matter has positive mass. In other words, theoretically can negative mass exist?
geometry
in our observable universe nothing is faster than the speed of light
Rango
Thanks
geometry
But theoretically, is it possible? Sorry I'm being very curious..
geometry
I don't know about dark matter but may be you should think about dark matter because dark matter are really strange
Rango
Exactly so theoretically, an dark matter lazer can be greater in speed. Also maybe quartz..
geometry
may be but i am not sure about quartz and btw techyons travel faster than light but techyons are hypothesized
Rango
there are many objects which are perceived to be faster than light
Ganeshan
The object have their own declination rate in speed,the air friction can develop higher temperature resulting the object to be disappear in molecules,not considering the Physical conditions in space.The object should be unaffected with the air friction and also speed should proportionate with fuel.
Near
the early universe expanded faster than the speed of light. Consider, at the speed of light in vacuum, time stops.
Robert
Does this mean something moving beyond the limit experiences negative time?
Robert
Under such conditions, would matter exist as wave-fronts?
Robert
When examining a cosmology it is possible to find quite unbelievable conditions. I like to imagine life at the tip of an asymptote, but to surpass it seems perilously remote.
Robert
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Source:  OpenStax, Astronomy. OpenStax CNX. Apr 12, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11992/1.13
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