A new map of Jupiter’s oddly active moon Io has revealed the location of the moon’s many erupting volcanoes, raising as many questions about the enigmatic satellite as it answers.
The map is the most comprehensive ever compiled of Io’s hundreds of active volcanoes, researchers said. It also suggests a complex, multi-layer source for the moon’s huge stores of internal thermal energy, which may come as a surprise to some astronomers.
“The fascinating thing about the distribution of the heat flow is that it is not in keeping with the current preferred model of tidal heating of Io at relatively shallow depths,” co-author Ashley Davies, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. “Instead, the main thermal emission occurs about 40 degrees eastward of its expected positions.”