Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using Hubble Data, Scientists Show Io's Mantle Is Similar To Earth's

Date:
October 9, 2000
Source:
Washington University In St. Louis
Summary:
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis studying chemical data from the Hubble Space Telescope have determined the eruption conditions of Jupiter's volcanically active satellite, Io, and concluded that the moon has a differentiated mantle similar to that of Earth.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis studying chemical data from the Hubble Space Telescope have determined the eruption conditions of Jupiter's volcanically active satellite, Io, and concluded that the moon has a differentiated mantle similar to that of Earth. Differentiation is the process where various rock types are produced from a common magma.

The researchers, Mikhail Zolotov, Ph. D., senior research scientist in earth and planetary sciences, and Bruce Fegley, Jr., Ph.D., professor of earth and planetary sciences, were able to take the Hubble measurements and infer the temperature of the magma and plume pressure of Pele, one of Io’s most active volcanoes.

This is the first time that scientists have used chemical data obtained from a telescope to study present-day interior processes of a solar system body. Surprisingly, the magma temperature inferred from the Hubble chemical data corresponds to the temperatures deduced from infrared measurements taken by the Galileo spacecraft orbiting Jupiter. The study shows that Earth orbit observations can compete successfully with expensive planetary missions.

Zolotov and Fegley published their results in the Sept. 1, 2000 issue of "Geophysical Research Letters." Their study was funded by NASA.

Io, one of the four major satellites of Jupiter, is approximately the same size as our moon, but has tremendous volcanic activity occurring on its surface.

From Earth's orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope took pictures and spectra of the massive eruptions of Pele, one of the most active volcanoes of Io, with plumes reaching over 1,300 feet high. Through the analysis of these spectra, collaborators Melissa McGrath, Ph.D., of the Hubble Space Telescope Institute, and John Spencer, Ph.D., of the Lowell Observatory, detected gaseous sulfur species and sulfur oxides inside the plumes.

Zolotov and Fegley then used the relative abundances of those gases to calculate the temperature and pressure inside the vent of Pele.

"The composition of the plume reflects the conditions in the vent through relatively simple calculations," explains Zolotov. "By observing the composition of the plume of quenched volcanic gas in the volcanic atmosphere, we can determine the temperature, pressure and concentrations of undetected species in the vent."

In addition, Zolotov and Fegley evaluated the oxidation state of the magma and exsolved gases. They found that the abundances of sulfur oxides and sulfur vapors suggest a lack of iron metal from Io’s mantle.

"If there is no free iron metal in the mantle, intense oxidation and differentiation in the internal structure of Io could have occurred in the first half billion years, or billion years, early in the history of Io," says Zolotov.

For this differentiation process to occur, an oxidizing agent must be present to remove all of the iron metal from the mantle. Water acted as an oxidizing agent when the Earth differentiated its iron billions of years ago.

"Io’s mantle is about as oxidized as the Earth’s mantle," says Zolotov. "And water, which is gone now, also could have caused the high oxidation state of Io." When this reaction occurs, water reacts with iron, hydrogen is released and the iron then becomes oxidized.

"In this process, the iron metal is removed from Io’s mantle and the interior of the moon becomes oxidized," says Zolotov. " Another satellite of Jupiter, water-rich Europa, may have differentiated in similar fashion to Io."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University In St. Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University In St. Louis. "Using Hubble Data, Scientists Show Io's Mantle Is Similar To Earth's." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001009105104.htm>.
Washington University In St. Louis. (2000, October 9). Using Hubble Data, Scientists Show Io's Mantle Is Similar To Earth's. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001009105104.htm
Washington University In St. Louis. "Using Hubble Data, Scientists Show Io's Mantle Is Similar To Earth's." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001009105104.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins