From Earth to the Solar System: Io

Volcanoes on Io: This false-color image shows Io, one of Jupiter’s largest moons and potentially the most interesting. About the size of Earth’s Moon, Io is the most volcanically active body in the Solar System. Io’s volcanoes erupt massive volumes of silicate lava, sulfur, and sulfur dioxide hundreds of miles above the surface, constantly changing Io’s appearance. The irregular depressions on Io’s surface, known as paterae, often correspond to active volcanic centers and have many straight edges and sharp angles, suggesting they are related to fractures in Io’s crust. In many cases lava can be seen to erupt from them. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

Posted: 14 December 2011
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Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.