from Thuntherbolts Website
Aug 04, 2004
Jupiterís inner Galilean moon, Io, spews plumes of material into space from several hot spots. They have been called volcanoes. But are they? The hot spots are unexpectedly hot. Probe sensors overloaded after registering temperatures higher than any lava on Earth. And some of the hot spots move over the surface.
The plumes are tall, have an umbrella shape, and deposit material in a ring around the source. They also have a filamentary structure. Io orbits inside a donut-shaped cloud of charged particles that come from the material in the plumes, and a tube of electrical current connects Io with Jupiterís auroras.
This produces uniform trajectories that deposit material a uniform distance from the source, explaining the rings around the "volcanoes." And the forces in the discharge channels pinch the arcs into filaments. Repulsive forces between filaments tend to space them equally, often in pairs, around the plumes. Peratt and Dessler remarked on the similarity of the filamentary umbrella shape to the shape discharged from a laboratory "plasma gun".
The scars produced will help us to distinguish electrical from impact scars left on other moons, comets, asteroids and planets.
July 17, 2004
Credit: Galileo Project, JPL, NASA
Mongibello Mons, on the far left of this image, is a sharp ridge rising so high it would rank among the highest mountains if it were on Earth.
The existence of mountains like this poses a mystery for traditional astronomers. Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system. This activity is supposed to be caused by tidal forces from Jupiter and its other large moons. In order to produce so many fast-changing and sometimes moving volcanoes, Io must be nearly molten.
The temperatures in the active regions were higher than the spacecraft Galileoís thermal sensors could measure, far hotter than any volcano on Earth. Yet ridges like Mongibello Mons require a rigid crust to keep them from collapsing.
The mountains left standing after the arcs have cut and melted their way around them remain supported by cold and firm bedrock.