High-temperature hot spots on Io as seen by the Galileo solid state imaging (SSI) experiment

Alfred S. McEwen, Damon P. Simonelli, David R. Senske, Kenneth P. Klaasen, Laszlo Keszthelyi, Torrence V. Johnson, Paul E. Geissler, Michael H. Carr, Michael J.S. Belton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


High-temperature hot spots on Io have been imaged at ∼50 km spatial resolution by Galileo's CCD imaging system (SSI). Images were acquired during eclipses (Io in Jupiter's shadow) via the SSI clear filter (∼0.4-1.0 μm), detecting emissions from both small intense hot spots and diffuse extended glows associated with Io's atmosphere and plumes. A total of 13 hot spots have been detected over ∼70% of Io's surface. Each hot spot falls precisely on a low-albedo feature corresponding to a caldera floor and/or lava flow. The hot-spot temperatures must exceed ∼700 K for detection by SSI. Observations at wavelengths longer than those available to SSI require that most of these hot spots actually have significantly higher temperatures (∼1000 K or higher) and cover small areas. The high-temperature hot spots probably mark the locations of active silicate volcanism, supporting suggestions that the eruption and near-surface movement of silicate magma drives the heat flow and volcanic activity of Io.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number97GL01956
Pages (from-to)2443-2446
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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