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Io's tortured interior

Coates, Andrew J. (2011) Io's tortured interior. Science 332 (6034), pp. 1157-1158. ISSN 0036-8075.

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Jupiter's moon Io is the most volcanic object in the solar system, injecting about a metric ton per second of sulfurous material into Jupiter's magnetic environment. Images and movies from spacecraft have caught Io's volcanoes in the act of erupting since their discovery by Voyager in 1979. This prolific activity hints at a tortured inner structure. On page 1186 of this issue, Khurana et al. (1) report magnetometer data obtained by the Galileo spacecraft and use it to infer the presence of a global magma ocean at least 50 km thick under Io's icy, pock-marked, and colorful surface. This result makes Io stand out as unique among its icy satellite siblings at Jupiter, Saturn, and beyond, where the other subsurface oceans are water-rich. It also confirms the importance of magnetic field and plasma instruments in probing the internal structure of solar system bodies.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences > UCL/Birkbeck Centre for Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2011 11:15
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:21

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