Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Map of Io's Volcanic Heat Flow

Map of Io’s volcanic heat flow


Gerard Davies et al


We present a map of Io’s volcanic heat flow. Io’s high heat flow is a result of intense tidal heating, which generates widespread volcanic activity. The surface expression of ongoing volcanic activity constrains the location and magnitude of tidal dissipation within Io. Tidal heating models place heating either at relatively shallow (aesthenosphere) levels, or deep in the mantle. It was thought that actual tidal heating could be approximated using a combination of these end-member models. Io’s volcanic heat flow has now been mapped in sufficient detail to compare with the models. Our maps show that the distribution of heat flow is not matched by current models of deep nor shallow tidal heating, nor by any combination of these two models. We find relatively low heat flow at sub-jovian (0°W) and anti-jovian (180°W) longitudes, at odds with the pure aesthenospheric heating model. Furthermore, there are large swaths of Io’s surface where there is poor correlation between the number of hot spots in an area and the power emitted. We have previously accounted for ≈54% of Io’s observed heat flow. We now show that Io’s anomalously warm poles, possibly the result of heat flow from deep-mantle heating, would yield the “missing” energy (48 TW) if the polar surfaces are at temperatures of ∼90 K to ∼95 K and cover latitudes above ∼43° to ∼48° respectively. This possibility implies a ratio of deep to shallow heating of about 1:1. However, explaining regional variations in surface volcanic activity requires more detailed modeling of the location and magnitude of the internal tidal dissipation and the consequences of mantle convection and advection within Io. Future model predictions can be compared to our heat flow map.

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