Sulfur Volcanoes on Io

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Science  27 Jul 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4404, pp. 397-398
DOI: 10.1126/science.205.4404.397


Widespread volcanism on Jupiter's satellite Io, if it occurred over the age of the solar system, would quickly reduce the inventory of most common volatiles needed to drive such volcanism. One exception is the volatile element sulfur. It is therefore postulated that sulfur is the driving volatile for Ionian volcanism. Its presence is consistent with a carbonaceous-chondrite-like bulk composition for the original material that formed Io 4.5 billion years ago. The ubiquity of sulfur on Io today demonstrates the importance of this element in the processes that formed its surface.