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 A Sea of Magma Feeds Hundreds of Volcanoes on Jupiter's Moon - 13th May 2011

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PostSubject: A Sea of Magma Feeds Hundreds of Volcanoes on Jupiter's Moon - 13th May 2011   Fri May 13, 2011 2:40 am



New data confirms that an ocean of magma under the surface of Jupiter's moon, Io, feeds the moon's many active volcanoes.

Io is the most volcanically active body in our solar system, with about 100 volcanoes erupting at any time. New measurements containing the first direct evidence of a sea of magma help to explain this phenomenon, along with the moon's high heat flow and unusual pattern of volcanic activity. The data was captured by the spacecraft Galileo during four flybys and published on Thursday in the journal Science.

"We used Jupiter's magnetic field as a sounding signal," said Krishan Khurana professor of geophysics and planetary physics at UCLA, and lead author of the study. "The principle we used is the same as what is used in metal detectors at the airport."

Metal detectors work by bouncing magnetic waves off metal objects, like metallic coins in your pocket, he explained. Similarly, while Jupiter's magnetic field penetrates most dry rock, it reflects off molten rock, which is an excellent conductor of electricity.

"We were looking for bounced-off signals from Io," Khurana said. We found them about 30 to 50 kilometers under the surface." Read More
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