Io: A Surface Evaporite Deposit?

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Science  06 Dec 1974:
Vol. 186, Issue 4167, pp. 922-925
DOI: 10.1126/science.186.4167.922


A model is suggested for Io's surface composition involving evaporite salt deposits, rich in sodium and sulfur. According to this model, these deposits were produced as a result of the migration of salt-saturated aqueous solutions to Io's surface from a warm or hot interior followed by loss of the water to space. This model satisfies cosmochemical constraints based on Io's initial composition, current density, and thermal history. Salt-rich assemblages are easily derivable from the leaching of carbonaceous chondritic material; the chemical and optical properties of such deposits, after modification by irradiation, can be used to explain Io's overall albedo and spectral reflectance, its dark reddish poles, and the observed sodium emission as well as or better than other currently suggested materials.

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