11/7/2017 - The Volcanism, Atmosphere, and Tidal Heating of Io


3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Geology 3656

Presented By:
Katherine de Kleer -


Tidal heating is a major driver of geological activity within our Solar System, and may play an important role on many exoplanets. On Io, the effects of tidal heating are clearly observable in the form of large-scale volcanism, making it an ideal laboratory for studying this process. I will present an ongoing observing campaign aimed at understanding Io’s volcanic activity, including its connection to Io’s atmosphere and to tidal heat dissipation. Between 2013 and 2017 we have observed Io on over 200 nights with adaptive optics on the Keck and Gemini N telescopes, and have tracked the evolution of thermal emission from dozens of individual active volcanic sites. The temporal progression of individual eruptions yields characteristic timescales and constrains the thermal properties of the magma. The spatial distribution of activity throughout this period reveals significant large-scale asymmetries and deviates from current tidal heating model predictions. Finally, comparisons with simultaneous long-term observing programs at other wavelengths are refining our understanding of how Io’s volcanism impacts variability in the jovian neutral and plasma environment.

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