Prometheus: Io's wandering plume

Susan W. Kieffer, Rosaly Lopes-Gautier, Alfred McEwen, William Smythe, Laszlo Keszthelyi, Robert Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Unlike any volcanic behavior ever observed on Earth, the plume from Prometheus on Io has wandered 75 to 95 kilometers west over the last 20 years since it was first discovered by Voyager and more recently observed by Galileo. Despite the source motion, the geometric and optical properties of the plume have remained constant. We propose that this can be explained by vaporization of a sulfur dioxide and/or sulfur 'snowfield' over which a lava flow is moving. Eruption of a boundary-layer slurry through a rootless conduit with sonic conditions at the intake of the melted snow can account for the constancy of plume properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1204-1208
Number of pages5
Issue number5469
StatePublished - May 19 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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