Wednesday, March 21, 2012

ASU team produces geologic map of Jovian moon Io


A team of scientists led by Arizona State University (ASU) has produced the first complete global geologic map of the Jovian satellite, Io. The map, published by the U. S. Geological Survey, "depicts the characteristics and relative ages of some of the most geologically unique and active volcanoes and lava flows ever documented in the Solar System."

The ASU announcement says the highly detailed, colorful map reveals a number of volcanic features, including: paterae (caldera-like depressions), lava flow fields, tholi (volcanic domes), and plume deposits, in various shapes, sizes and colors, as well as high mountains and large expanses of sulfur- and sulfur dioxide-rich plains. The mapping identified 425 paterae, or individual volcanic centers. One feature you will not see on the geologic map is impact craters.

“Io has no impact craters; it is the only object in the Solar System where we have not seen any impact craters, testifying to Io’s very active volcanic resurfacing,” according to David Williams, a faculty research associate in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU, who led the six-year research project to produce the geologic map.

[taken from the ASU SESU news release]

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