Ridges and tidal stress on Io

Gwendolyn D. Bart, Elizabeth P. Turtle, Windy L. Jaeger, Laszlo P. Keszthelyi, Richard Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Sets of ridges of uncertain origin are seen in twenty-nine high-resolution Galileo images, which sample seven locales on Io. These ridges are on the order of a few kilometers in length with a spacing of about a kilometer. Within each locale, the ridges have a consistent orientation, but the orientations vary from place to place. We investigate whether these ridges could be a result of tidal flexing of Io by comparing their orientations with the peak tidal stress orientations at the same locations. We find that ridges grouped near the equator are aligned either north-south or east-west, as are the predicted principal stress orientations there. It is not clear why particular groups run north-south and others east-west. The one set of ridges observed far from the equator (52° S) has an oblique azimuth, as do the tidal stresses at those latitudes. Therefore, all observed ridges have similar orientations to the tidal stress in their region. This correlation is consistent with the hypothesis that tidal flexing of Io plays an important role in ridge formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-126
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Io
  • Satellite
  • Solid body
  • Surfaces
  • Tectonics
  • Tides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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