Geologic mapping of the Chaac-Camaxtli region of Io from Galileo imaging data

David A. Williams, Jani Radebaugh, Laszlo P. Keszthelyi, Alfred S. McEwen, Rosaly M.C. Lopes, Sylvain Douté, Ronald Greeley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We produced a geologic/geomorphologic map of the Chaac-Camaxtli region of Io's leading anti-Jovian hemisphere using regional resolution (186 m/pixel) Galileo imaging data collected during orbit 127 (February 2000) integrated with lower resolution (1.4 km/ pixel) color data, along with other Galileo imaging and spectral data. This is the first regional map of Io made from Galileo data. Nine color and geomorphologic units have been mapped, and the close proximity of dark and various colored bright materials suggests that there is an intimate interaction between (presumably) silicate magmas and sulfur-bearing volatile materials that produced a variety of explosive and effusive deposits in the recent geologic past. This region of Io is dominated by 11 volcanic centers, most of which are paterae that are analogous in morphology to terrestrial calderas but larger in size. Mapping of structural features indicates that most of the active regions occur in topographic lows, and less active or inactive paterae are associated with topographic highs. This indicates that crustal thickness variations influence magma access to the surface. Surface changes in this region since the Voyager flybys (1979) are relatively minor (additional bright and dark flows, color changes), although several active vents have migrated within paterae. This observation, along with the identification of the relatively regular spacing of paterae (∼100-150 km) along a line, may indicate there are multiple interlacing fractures in the crust that serve as magma conduits from the interior. This connection between volcanism and tectonism may have implications for tidal heating mechanisms and their effect on Io's lithosphere. Some inactive patera floors may be evolving into bright plains material, which, if composed of silicates, might explain the strength of Io's crust to support steep patera walls and tall mountains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-1-6-15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 25 2002


  • Galileo mission
  • Geologic mapping
  • Io
  • Lava flows
  • Paterae
  • Planetary volcanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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