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2017-05-10. Waves of lava seen in Io’s largest volcanic crater.

posted May 20, 2017, 3:34 PM by Alan Gould   [ updated May 20, 2017, 3:45 PM by Alan Gould ]
By Robert Sanders, Media relations, UC Berkeley News. For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 7. Excerpt: Taking advantage of a rare orbital alignment between two of Jupiter’s moons, Io and Europa, researchers have obtained an exceptionally detailed map of the largest lava lake on Io, the most volcanically active body in the solar system. ...Overturning lava is a popular explanation for the periodic brightening and dimming of the hot spot, called Loki Patera after the Norse god. (A patera is a bowl-shaped volcanic crater.) The most active volcanic site on Io, which itself is the most volcanically active body in the solar system, Loki Patera is about 200 kilometers (127 miles) across. The hot region of the patera has a surface area of 21,500 square kilometers, larger than Lake Ontario. Earthbound astronomers first noticed Io’s changing brightness in the 1970s, but only when the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft flew by in 1979 did it become clear that this was because of volcanic eruptions on the surface. Despite highly detailed images from NASA’s Galileo mission in the late 1990s and early 2000s, astronomers continue to debate whether the brightenings at Loki Patera – which occur every 400 to 600 days – are due to overturning lava in a massive lava lake, or periodic eruptions that spread lava flows over a large area....  http://news.berkeley.edu/2017/05/10/waves-of-lava-seen-in-ios-largest-volcanic-crater/

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