Volcanic Hotspots on Io: Stability and Longitudinal Distribution

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Science  12 Oct 1984:
Vol. 226, Issue 4671, pp. 134-137
DOI: 10.1126/science.226.4671.134


We report the first results of a program to determine the longitudinal distribution of volcanic activity on Jupiter's satellite Io. Infrared measurements at 8.7, 10, and 20 micrometers have been taken at a variety of orbital longitudes: strong variation in the 8.7- and 10-micrometer flux with longitude demonstrates that infrared emission arising from volcanic hotspots on Io is strongly concentrated in a few locations. Analysis of these data suggests that the active volcanic regions observed by the Voyager experimenters are still active, particularly the region around the feature known as Loki. Another source of flux, although of somewhat smaller magnitude, is indicated on the opposite hemisphere. If these sources are the only major volcanic centers on Io, then current global heat flow estimates must be revised downward. However, heat flow from as yet unobserved longitudes, hotspots at high latitudes, and conducted heat flow must still be measured.

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