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Science  06 Dec 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5600, pp. 1849
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5600.1849c

Io, the smallest and closest Galilean satellite of Jupiter, is littered with active volcanoes, which result from the internal heating generated by tidal interactions with Jupiter and Europa. Data from spacecraft such as Voyager 1 and Galileo have revealed many details of Io's tidal heating, volcanic processes, and composition.

Marchis et al. have combined the adaptive optics on the 10-meter Keck II telescope in Hawaii with a new deconvolution algorithm to obtain high-resolution infrared images. The ability to detect features as small as 100 kilometers allowed the observation of several eruptions, including the brightest outburst ever observed from the Surt volcano in February 2001. This eruption covered an area of 800 square kilometers, with temperatures ranging from 1030 to 1475 K; the high temperatures suggest that the eruption started with large fire fountains and that the magma was silicate-rich, like terrestrial magmas. The total thermal output was about 8 × 1013 watts, almost equal to the average global heat flow from Io. — LR

Icarus160, 124 (2002).

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